ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) – An Alaska man has received the U.S. Coast Guard’s second-highest civilian honor for saving a girl from drowning when they were both children more than 20 years ago.

The Anchorage Daily News reported Saturday that George Lambert received a silver lifesaving medal in Anchorage Saturday for rescuing Pamela Smith.

Officials say Lambert and Smith were among a group swimming at a sandbar near Kotzebue in northwest Alaska in 1998 when he was 10 and she was 12. Smith was pulled into the current and Lambert swam out 100 feet (30 meters) to tow Smith to safety.

Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Dale led a three-year campaign to recognize Lambert.

The award was presented by Coast Guard Rear Admiral Matthew Bell during a ceremony attended by Republican Gov. Mike Dunleavy.

Information from: Anchorage Daily News,