By Marlee Ginter

EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — A young Northern California man who sacrificed himself to save two strangers is now being honored in a big way.

Evan Ishima, 24, jumped into the fast-moving and dangerous Cosumnes River to save a stranger struggling but he never made it out.

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“It hits hard. It does. And I think my parents took it the worst out of all of us,” his sister, Anjelica, told CBS13. “I just remember my mom all the time talking about that she didn’t want to be here, she just wanted to be with him. She wanted her son back. I’ve never seen my dad so hurt either. I’ve never seen him cry.”

On May 28, 2020, Ishima was hiking with friends when he noticed someone struggling in the water. He lowered himself into the water while bracing his arms on two boulders. Others then joined in to form a human chain but the force of the river pulled Ishima down and he never resurfaced.

Another young man saw the struggle and also jumped in to help but he never resurfaced either.

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Ishima’s family says a volunteer used equipment to locate all three men and found him underneath the two other victims. They believe he was trying to push them up to the surface.

Now, Ishima and the other young man who jumped in to help are both being honored with the Carnegie Medal.

“We’re still trying to figure out who nominated him for that but whoever did it, we’re extremely grateful for,” said Anjelica. “I have no words, I think that’s beautiful. I think there’s probably nothing more honorable than that.”

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Anjelica says her brother was humble and never looking for attention. She says he was just out to do the right thing. But his bravery being honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission may just cushion the heartbreak.