Josh Burgess and Chris Colby didn’t give much thought to what they were doing when they dropped their things and ran toward a woman caught in strong surf last summer at Popham Beach.

But their split-second decision saved that woman’s life.

Now, their actions are earning them recognition from the United Valley chapter of the American Red Cross. The organization will give Burgess and Colby a Real Heroes award Tuesday morning at a breakfast in Lewiston.

The Red Cross chapter will give out eight other Real Heroes awards at the event, which will be held at the Ramada Inn.

“It’s an honor,” said Colby, 18, of Randolph. “I’m not trying to be in the limelight or anything.”

“It kind of caught me by surprise,” Burgess, 24, of West Gardiner said of the recognition. “You’d think they’d give it to a firefighter or police officer before they’d give it to someone like me.”

But it was Burgess and Colby who were there at the right moment for Chancell Luce, a 26-year-old Farmington woman who was swimming at Popham Beach State Park last July on her day off from working two jobs.

Luce was toppled by a wave near Fox Island and thrashed against barnacle-covered rocks.

As Colby and Burgess approached Fox Island, they heard Luce’s screams and ran in that direction. They then pulled her from the water as dozens of people watched. Once she was safely on the beach, the pair tied their T-shirts onto the woman’s wounds and waited with her for an ambulance.

“I definitely wouldn’t be here without them,” Luce said in an interview about a week after the incident.

Jennifer Gaylord, executive director of the Red Cross’ United Valley chapter, said a board member noticed the story about the rescue in a newspaper last summer and recommended Burgess and Colby for the Real Heroes award.

“It just seemed like the two gentlemen really stood for what we see as an everyday hero in our minds,” Gaylord said. “Out of a crowd of people, they were the only two who really responded. That goes above and beyond, and definitely stood out in our eyes.”