Rasmus Sayre, a 13-year-old eighth-grader at Tisbury School, received a special citation from State Senator Dan Wolf in a ceremony in the school library on Monday.
The citation from the Massachusetts House of Representatives recognized an act of heroism by Rasmus on February 19, when he dropped out of an international sail-boarding race off the shore of Cozumel, Mexico, to rescue 19-year-old Nicole Level.
Both of them were leading the race in their age divisions when Nicole broke a critical part of her sail rig. She fell from her board, which the current swept away. Rasmus spotted her struggling in the water without a life jacket, about a half-mile from shore. He veered off from the race to pull her to safety on his board.
Senator Wolf attended Monday’s ceremony.
“It is extraordinary what you did, to put your life at risk to help another human being,” Senator Wolf told Rasmus at the ceremony. His chief of staff, Seth Rolbein, and legislative liaison and Island attorney Nell Coogan accompanied him.
The citation Senator Wolf read recognized Rasmus for his “ambitious act of bravery, sportsmanship, and heroism in saving the life of Ms. Nicole Level.”
Senator Wolf (D-Cape and Islands), State Representative Tim Madden (D-Barnstable, Dukes and Nantucket), and Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Robert A. DeLeo signed the citation.
When asked by The Times how the citation was arranged, Ms. Coogan said she suggested the idea to Senator Wolf and Representative Madden after she read an article about Rasmus in The Times.
The two legislators coordinated the citation presentation with a trip to Martha’s Vineyard Monday to visit constituents. Unfortunately, Mr. Madden was unable to attend because fog delayed his trip from Nantucket.
Principal Richie Smith hosted the ceremony attended by Rasmus’s parents, Tina and Nevin Sayre, and the entire eighth-grade class, about 35 students. Teachers Barbara Bodin, Greg Coogan, Melissa Ogden, Hope Fecitt, Ruth Campbell, Scott Schofield, and Cathy Weiss, librarian Emily Levett, and guidance counselor Joan Creato also attended.