Edward Klepeis, Jr., 29, dairy farmer, helped to save Daniel J. Jr., and James A Peischel, 17 and 15, respectively, school boys, from drowning, Rosendale, New York, March 31, 1951. A motor-boat in which Daniel and his brother James were riding in the flood waters of the Wallkill river was carried by a very strong current into a dense grove of partly-submerged trees and capsized in deep water 250 feet from the nearest land. Climbing a tree, the youths began shouting for help. Within an hour Edward and his brother, Frank L. Klepeis were informed of the plight of the youths. Edward, who was inexperienced in handling boats, launched a rowboat at the bank of a creek flowing into the river and with difficulty rowed 750 feet in the flood waters to the edge of the grove 125 feet from Daniel and James. Frank arrived by automobile at the edge of the flood are 300 feet from the grove. Edward rowed part way into the grove but was unable to control the boat, which leaked at the seams, in the swift current. Carrying a rope, Frank waded 75 feet toward Daniel and James. Edward rowed from the swift current to Frank, who boarded the boat. Edward continued to the edge of the swift water 175 feet downstream from Daniel and James. At Edward’s suggestion Frank took over operation of the oars. Debris accumulated against the trunks of various trees in the grove had lessened the current at such places. Maneuvering the boat from side to side in the areas where the water was less swift, Frank with great effort rowed to a tree 25 feet upstream from the youths. Edward quickly secured an end of the rope to the tree. With Edward feeding out rope and Frank steering with the oars, the boat then was allowed to drift to the tree in which Daniel and James were lodged. Daniel and James were assisted into the rowboat, which had shipped several inches of water. Edward released the rope. With freeboard of four inches the boat drifted to the edge of the grove, Frank steering cautiously between the trees to avoid the debris. The boat emerged from the swift water, and Frank rowed 450 feet to land. Daniel and James were chilled. Edward was tired and nervous but recovered.
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