Father-son team who saves 3 yr. old girl receives award - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Father-son team who saves 3 yr. old girl receives award


The Van Zandt County Sheriff's Office conducted a ceremony this afternoon to give an award to the father and son team who helped save a young girls life last week.

When receiving their award today, both the father and the son, said it was because of divine intervention that they found 3-yr. old, Zoey Smith.

Zoey Smith wandered off from her home just after noon February 2nd, 2012. After a search that lasted for almost eight hours, Smith was found two miles away near a creek with her dog.

Jason Smith and his 12 yr-old, Ivan Villegas received an honorable award today for finding and potentially saving the life of 3 yr.-old, Zoey Smith.

"Your commended for your efforts and your possible preventing a tragic ending, the Sheriffs Office and the entire community wish you a thank you for preventing by presenting you a certificate, " says Van Zandt Co. Sheriff, Pat Burnett, as he handed them the certificate.

While receiving the award both Jason and Ivan were humble, saying it was an angel that helped them save Zoey.

"She was in the arms of some angels that night because there was no reason whatsoever for me to go out in them woods, nothing," says Jason.

Jason Smith just got home from work last Thursday when he found out the little girl went missing. "After that I don't know, from that point forward I just had a feeling to just go look," says Smith.

They began their journey on a four wheeler in the dark, but after it broke down, they were forced to go by foot. "It kind of just fell over and that's where we stopped in the pitch black, well it just so happened there was a clearing in the woods, and if you walk through that clearing it shines on the open pasture, and for some reason we went that way," explains Smith.

Now looking back, they said it was all meant to be, it was the clear path to Zoey.

"We run up on her, shine the light on her, and the dog was right with her and she was right there just saying she was cold," says Smith.

They rescued Zoey, and her dog, Brownie, who is also considered a hero for staying with her the whole day."

"They will be with us for the rest of our lives, we are very thankful of them, we are," says Judy Curtis, Zoey's Grandmother.

Along with Jason and Ivan, Brownie also got a certificate of heroism, along with a dog bone, and a bag of wilderness treats.

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