A homeless Winnipeg man is being hailed as a hero after rescuing a teenage boy from the frigid Red River.

Faron Hall was sitting with a friend on a bench near the Provencher Bridge on Sunday night when a teenager tried to jump from one part of the bridge to another.

The boy fell into the river and immediately began struggling to keep his ahead above water.

"All of a sudden we heard a splash and I just seen this young kid, his head bobbing up and down and he was saying he was cold," Hall said Wednesday morning on CTV's Canada AM, adding that the teen began yelling for help.

"And I just threw off my backpack and dove in the water."

Hall said the teen, whose identity has not been revealed, tried to fight him off and Hall had to hit him a couple of times to stop his struggling.

"I just told him, just trust me. I'll get us to grass, just trust me," Hall said.

The boy went limp and Hall turned him on his back, grabbed him by the arms and swam upstream about 10 to 15 yards to shore.

"It was cold and my friend on the bank, he said, 'Keep going.' He was yelling at me, 'Don't give up,'" Hall said.

When Hall and the teen got to shore, Hall's friend dragged them up onto the bank to safety before paramedics arrived.

The teen is reportedly recovering in hospital.

Marion Willis, who lives nearby and witnessed the rescue, was awestruck by Hall's efforts and said the Red River is especially cold and dangerous at this time of year.

"Anybody who has been to Winnipeg and knows the Red River you know that right now it is the icy red sea," Willis told Canada AM.

After witnessing Hall's heroics, Willis offered Hall an opportunity to live with her family and turn his life around.

Hall has battled alcoholism and has been on the streets for about seven years.

"In my mind Faron is truly a hero," Willis said.

The city of Winnipeg will honour Hall with a medal of honour, as well as season's tickets to Winnipeg Goldeyes baseball games.

He was also presented with a medal of valour by Mayor Sam Katz.

The ceremony took place near the riverbank where Hall often sleeps.

"It's kind of overwhelming," Hall said. "I've never had this kind of attention."

With files from The Canadian Press