Daniel R. Welp saved Merlin J. Hoftender from drowning, East Dubuque, Illinois, July 28, 2011. Hoftender, 53, was stranded at his pickup truck after it was washed from a flooded highway into a ditch during heavy rains at night. Welp, 55, custodian, was driving on the same highway when the floodwater’s current took his truck past Hoftender’s. Hoftender, who could not swim, shouted to him for help. When Welp’s truck stopped on the highway, he exited and saw that another motorist was stranded by the floodwater on the highway. Welp went to that motorist and aided him to safety at the edge of the flooded area. He then re-entered the floodwaters and proceeded several hundred feet, to a point beyond Hoftender’s truck. Welp stepped from the highway into the 10-foot-deep water of the flooded ditch and, moving with the current, swam to Hoftender’s truck. He aided Hoftender up the opposite bank of the ditch to the bed of a railroad track that extended alongside it. Firefighters had been dispatched along the track and met up with the men. All reached safety.
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