Marquis Montez, 13, (middle) poses with Scott Bellanger and Michael Graves, who were presented lifesaving awards by the Wauconda Police Department on Wednesday. | Provided Photo

Two fishermen who saved an 11-year-old boy from Bangs Lake in Wauconda during an incident that left a second boy dead in 2019 received lifesaving awards on Wednesday.

Scott Bellanger and Michael Graves were on a fishing boat on April 19, 2019, on Bangs Lake in Wauconda.

Marquis Montez, who was 11 at the time, and Geraldo Rodriguez, 9, were nearby on a paddleboat.

The two children jumped into the water, which was 45 degrees, thinking they could swim to shore after their paddleboat began to rock and they got scared, WGN TV reported.

Fire department crews search Bangs Lake in Wauconda for a 9-year-old boy who fell off a paddleboat on April 19, 2019. | File Photo

Graves and Bellanger heard the two children scream for help and the two men jumped into the water.

They were able to save Montez but were not able to save Rodriguez, who went under the water.


The Wauconda Fire District and approximately 20 other fire departments responded to the scene to assist in the search.

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Rodriguez was found dead in the water by divers the next day following an extensive search.

9-year-old Geraldo Rodriguez died Thursday after drowning in Bangs Lake in Wauconda | Photo provided by the family.

On Wednesday, Graves and Bellanger were presented with lifesaving awards by the Wauconda Police Department.

Montez, now 13 years old, also attended the ceremony. “It actually means a lot to me what they did for me by saving my life two years ago,” he told WGN.

Graves said in an interview with WGN that “a million things went right for this to turn out the way it did.”

“So just very fortunate that we had a chance and we were able to successfully keep [Montez] alive,” Graves said.