Veronica Tucker would have done the same thing if the man she helped save had been anyone else.

"Someone would've been waiting for him to come home," the sixth-grader at North Creek Academy in Walnut Creek says of her valiant efforts.

In this case, she and a new summer camp cabin mate Grace McAdoo, both from Concord, instinctively teamed up to save Veronica's dad.

The girls are being recognized with a proclamation by the Concord City Council, which will be presented at the meeting Tuesday, Sept. 9.

"I feel like I don't deserve it, because of course I was going to save him. I didn't want to lose my dad," Veronica says.

The girls were in the midst of enjoying a weeklong experience at Camp Concord at Lake Tahoe, where her dad was volunteering as a chaperon.

Veronica was able to attend summer camp on a scholarship issued by Concord Junior Giants following a challenge that she met: reading for 8,000 minutes.

"She really went to town," her father says with palpable pride.

On July 24, the group had made the trek to the lake for a free day of swimming.

Tucker swam out about 35 or 40 feet, while his daughter, whom he refers to as "born obedient," and Grace paddled nearby in a double kayak.

Tucker, a diabetic -- whose recent change in medication, coupled with the altitude and cold temperature of the lake -- suddenly lost control of his extremities, struggled to breathe when his "chest locked up," and managed to shout out for help, before the former longtime search-and-rescue volunteer started to sink beneath the water's surface.


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Hearing her dad's call, Veronica and Grace, a fifth-grader at Ygnacio Valley Christian School in Concord, started paddling feverishly and pulled up alongside, with Veronica grabbing hold of his arm and securing it with a rope.

"At first I thought he just wanted to play with us," says Grace, "but Veronica said 'no, he's drowning.'"

"She knew this was critical," Tucker says.

Meanwhile, another pair of kayakers came up along the other side of Tucker and secured his arm in the same fashion -- and the vessels pulled him to shore, where he regained consciousness.

Tucker chalks up his survival to good karma derived from a life of always thinking of others that his parents had ingrained -- and the help of two 10-year-old girls.

"It was kind of exciting to save someone," says Grace, who has aspirations of a career as a physician. "He thanked me for being there."

"I'm here because of these girls. To me, they're (heroines)," Tucker says. "I'm taking everyday as a new day. It takes just a matter of moments."