Charles H. Stover helped to save Charlie Smith and his wife Estella from drowning, Logan, West Virginia, March 12, 1963. Rising floodwaters trapped the Smiths, who could-not swim and were in poor health, in the rear bedroom of their one-story frame dwelling. A man who was visiting them and was nearly blind was in the front bedroom. In rising water nine feet deep, Stover, 40, disabled veteran, Stewart Miller, and two other men went to the Smith house in a boat. Hearing shouts and pounding, they chopped a hole in the porch roof alongside a window, on the sill of which the other man was standing to keep his head above water. After glass had been kicked from the window and he had been aided onto the roof, the man told them the Smiths were in the adjoining room. Stover and Miller undressed to their undershorts. Miller took with him an inflated inner tube as they lowered themselves through the hole in the roof, submerged, and entered the house by way of the window opening. They found the water within 15 inches of the ceiling, in which an electric light still was burning. Stover swam across the room, pushing floating furniture and other objects aside, and Miller followed. They then went under water and moved through a doorway into the other room, where a ceiling light also was lit. Across the room they saw the Smiths standing on submerged objects. Deciding that Smith, 75, retired coal miner, was in the worst condition, Stover and Miller swam to him, again pushing floating articles aside. They told Mrs. Smith, 58, they would return for her and, with Miller holding Smith’s arm over the inner tube, they swam back across the room with him. At the doorway, Miller maintained his hold on Smith, submerged, and moved into the next room. Telling Smith to hold his breath, Stover pushed him under water; and Miller then drew him through the doorway and to the surface as Stover followed. The latter pushed floating objects aside as they swam across the room with Smith and reached the window. By then the water was within a foot of the ceiling. Using the same procedure as they had at the doorway, Stover and Miller moved through the window opening with Smith and aided him onto the porch roof. Tired, winded, and chilled, Stover and Miller rested on the roof briefly. They then re-entered the dwelling and employing the same methods as before took Mrs. Smith to the window. The water was within nine inches of the ceiling, and the lights were flickering as they removed Mrs. Smith from the dwelling and aided her onto the roof. Stover and Miller had been inside the house about 10 minutes on each trip. All entered the boat and proceeded to high ground. Soon afterward the river completely inundated the Smith dwelling. The Smiths were hospitalized for exposure.
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