SYOSSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Lifeguards on Long Island got a special than you Tuesday for saving a 4-year-old boy.

As CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock reports, there were cards and flowers, tokens of a mother’s immense gratitude for the Town of Oyster Bay lifeguards. The young heroes are the reason her son, 4-year-old Vincent Zhang, is still beside her, smiling.

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“I tried to hold my breath, but I can’t hold my breath,” Vincent said.

Vincent says he remembers nearly drowning at Syosset-Woodbury Community Park pool on Aug. 13.

“I sunk in the deep water,” Vincent said.

Angela Wang said she went to put her bag down and run to the bathroom while her friend kept an eye on the kids. When she returned, Vincent was lying beside the pool, not breathing.

“I couldn’t think of anything. The only thing I remember is calling his name. ‘Vincent, Vincent,'” Wang said.

Eighteen-year-old lifeguard Gianna Magrino recalls what happened in the moments just before.

“I saw him immediately slip under,” she said.

She blew her whistle three times, setting off the emergency action system. She didn’t waste a moment getting into the pool and pulling him out.

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“I saw that he was unconscious. His face was almost turning blue,” Magrino said. “Get the back board, he’s unconscious, prep the AED.”

Lifeguard John Shea prepped the AED while lifeguard captain Ryan Harrison checked for vitals and started compressions. Two rounds of 30 compressions brought life back.

“Thankfully he’s OK, and that’s really all that matters,” Harrison said.

Boy is he. His mom says he’s active and a bit naughty still.

He preferred not to pose for a picture with the guards Tuesday but eventually stood still for the perfect shot.

Moments later, Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor Joe Saladino awarded each guard with a citation.

“These exceptional individuals acted decisively. They rendered life-saving aid and deserve tremendous commendation,” he said.

“They dive in and save my life,” Vincent said.

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The town of Oyster Bay also honored the Syosset Fire Department with a citation for ensuring Vincent’s safe passage to the hospital.

CBSNewYork Team