Donald J. Haugen, 31, draftsman, helped to save Mary E. Gravette, 11, from drowning, Galveston, Texas, July 21, 1957. At a beach on the Gulf of Mexico, Mary waded 180 feet from shore, where she lost her footing and was submerged briefly near a public fishing groin. A very poor swimmer, she called for help and flailed her arms to stay afloat as the current carried her farther from shore into deeper water. Attracted by Mary’s cries, Haugen, who was wearing bathing trunks, ran along the groin to 300 feet from shore and dived into the water. He swam 50 feet and reached Mary in water eight feet deep between waves 12 to 18 high. Mary threw her arms around Haugen’s neck and tried to climb onto him, causing him to be submerged. Haugen broke her hold and returning to the surface, where Mary again grasped him around the neck and climbed onto his back. Haugen, who had swallowed water and was tiring rapidly, then began swimming toward the groin, towing Mary by her hold on him. Severely impeded by Mary’s weight, he swam with effort 30 feet toward several fishing poles extended by persons on the groin. Haugen, who had taken in additional water, then lost consciousness and sank briefly. Mary released her hold on him and, flailing her arms, remained at the surface until a lifeguard reached her. He calmed her and then towed her to the beach as another man swam to Haugen and towed him to shore. Mary suffered no lasting ill effects. After his breathing had been restored by artificial respiration, Haugen was removed to a hospital, where he regained consciousness. Violently nauseated and extremely weak, he was hospitalized for four days and recovered.
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