E. Vann Kirkpatrick saved Judith C. Hines and Michael E. and Jeffrey L. Jones from drowning, Jacksonville Beach, Florida, June 6, 1963. While frolicking in the surf in the Atlantic Ocean, Judith, 15, and schoolboys Michael, 15, and Jeffrey, 13, were carried seaward by a strong undercurrent which prevented them from swimming back to shore. They called for help as they struggled separately to stay afloat in water nine feet deep. Kirkpatrick, 49, mail carrier, ran 100 feet to the water’s edge, where he undressed to his underwear. He waded and swam 100 feet through breakers three feet high and then swam 150 feet farther to Judith. By that time she and the Jones brothers nearly were exhausted. Kirkpatrick towed Judith 10 feet to Michael. With Michael holding to Judith, Kirkpatrick towed them six feet to Jeffrey, who took hold of Michael. Kirkpatrick then towed all three in tandem shoreward. When he encountered the undercurrent, his progress slowed greatly, but he continued swimming although he was beginning to weaken. After towing the three young people 300 feet diagonally through the surf, he reached wadable water greatly fatigued. All waded to the beach.
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