Lakeland utility worker sharing good deed in hopes of finding man he helped

Posted at 4:45 PM, Apr 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-17 18:34:34-04

TAMPA — The day started out much like every other day, with a Lakeland utility crew out at the crack of dawn inspecting the city's sewer lines. 

But a few weeks ago, on their drive around Lake Parker, they spotted something.

"We thought he was one of the people that worked in the lake, one of the aquatic workers," said Jonathan Turbeville.

But when they looped around again a few hours later, they saw the man still in the lake clearly struggling.

"He was moving his hands in the water. He was about shoulder deep and his head kept going under the water," said Turbeville.

The crew called 911, and even though police arrived within minutes, Turbeville decided to take action, jumping into the chilly lake, known to be filled with alligators. 

"I'll be honest about it, I did not think about it, I just did it,"  said Turbeville.

He said pulling the man to shore was a struggle. He was about 30 feet away.

"It was not easy. I mean the lake had two to three feet of mud in it. He was  dead weight. He was definitely dead weight,"  said Turbeville.

And Turbeville soon realized he pulled him out in the knick of time. 

"He was cold, he was extremely cold. His lips were blue. You couldn't even get him to lift his arms,  said Turbeville.

Crews rushed the man to the hospital. And while Turbeville may shrug this off, his colleagues see him as a hero.

"I just did what should have been done," he said.

"I am the one that put him in for the VIP award that he deserved because he did something that was not required on the job at all," said colleague Jordan Spring.

City leaders agreed and honored Turbeville at a ceremony

But, the story doesn't end there. The crew only knows the man's name is Frank and at this point they want to find him

"I would like to know that he is ok,"  said Turbeville.

That's why he's sharing his good hoping Frank is watching. In the meantime it's back to work, just like that day 

"We stopped by the house and I changed pants and got different boots, that was it," said Turbeville.