Arnold W. Parrett, 22, papermill worker, attempted to save David L. VanOflen, 4, from drowning, Hamilton, Ohio, March 15, 1961. A man took his young son and David, 4, for a ride on Great Miami River in a motorboat, which stalled above a dam almost covered by the water which was five feet higher than normal. Water temperature was 39 degrees. The swift current swept all three persons over the dam into water eight to nine feet deep. The man and his son reached the bank safely. David who was wearing a life jacket, was carried downstream 200 feet from the bank. A 26-year-old millwright helper ran to the bank, removed his jacket and shirt, and then entered the water still wearing heavy leather boots. Calling that he would try to get David, he swam with great effort more than 1,100 feet in pursuit of David, the man sank and remained submerged. David was carried under the first of four bridges in the area. By then many other persons had been attracted. From the bank below the first bridge, Parrett entered the water after removing his jacket and shoes. By swimming hard he overtook David and attempted to tow him toward the bank, but both were carried downstream. The swift current pulled David from the grasp of Parrett, who regained his hold but still could not make any progress toward the bank. The current again jerked David from Parrett’s grasp. Tiring rapidly, Parrett swam after David but could not overtake him and was submerged intermittently. At the second bridge Parrett who had swum 3,000, feet grasped a rope lowered by firemen and with difficulty clung to it until two policemen reached him in a motorboat and took him aboard. Meanwhile David had been swept under the third bridge and carried to within a 100 feet of the bank. Another man, who was on the opposite bank, undressed to his undershorts, entered the cold water, and swam diagonally across the swift current. Estimating that David would be carried close to a pier of the fourth bridge, that man swam to the pier and clung to a pile of debris, which had collected there. The diverted current carried David beyond his reach. The man, who had swum 1,400 feet, was about to start after David again when he saw the policemen in the motorboat. The policemen overtook David, who still was conscious, and pulled him aboard. They took David and Parrett to the bank, and then removed the third man from the debris pile. David was hospitalized three days and recovered. Combs had drowned. Parrett was hospitalized two days and recovered.45490-4442
Arnold W. Parrett, age 85 of Hamilton, passed away on Tuesday, November 7, 2023 at his home. He was born on October 15, 1938 in Williamsburg, KY, the son of the late Neal and Pearl (Manning) Parrett. Arnold received his education in the Hamilton Public Schools. On June 21, 1957 he married Donna June Batdorf in Newport, KY. He was employed by Beckett Paper Co. and was a devoted member of the North Fairfield Baptist Church. Arnold retired from Beckett Paper Co. after 32 years of service. After retirement, just like before, Arnold lived life to the fullest. He loved spending time with his family and friends and playing volleyball. Arnold loved to travel, whether by bus, plane, car, or cruise ship, he was always ready to go. He had a love for the outdoors and listening to music. Arnold will always be remembered as a fun-loving, easy-going, witty, “never met a stranger” kind of guy. He was also a very selfless man. In 1961 he jumped into the Great Miami River to rescue a 4 year old boy from drowning and was awarded the Carnegie Hero Fund award. Arnold is survived by a daughter, Dreama Barnes (Calvin); son, Arnold Dwayne Parrett (Tracey); three grandchildren, Timothy Carpenter (Lindsey), Dustin Parrett (Shelby), and Jody Bevenger; four great-grandchildren, Andrew, Ethan, and Bella Carpenter, and Grahm Parrett. Arnold is also survived by his longtime, loving friend, Sharon McCracken, and her family. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; and sister, Butella Parsley.