Frederic H. Rhodes, 32, chief deputy sheriff, helped to save Charles T. Freeland, 45, plant furnace operator, from drowning, Evans, West Virginia, March 7, 1967. When their boat capsized in the floodwater of a creek, Freeland and another man were carried by the swift current to partially submerged trees 150 feet from the water’s edge. Two hundred feet apart, each clung to a tree in water 20 feet deep and called for help. Two hours later their shouts were heard, and a fire department was notified. Learning of the situation, Rhodes went to the water’s edge at the opposite side of the creek. Freeland shouted that he could not hold on much longer. Rhodes, who only three weeks earlier had been released from the hospital following an operation, undressed to his undershorts and lunged into the extremely cold water, which made breathing difficult. The current forced him downstream as he swam 20 feet toward Freeland. Rhodes left the water and went across a bridge to the opposite side of the creek. He waded and swam 80 feet toward Freeland but was forced to turn back because he had trouble breathing and controlling his movements in the swift current. Firemen arrived. A rope was tied around Rhodes, who waded and swam to within 50 feet of Freeland but by then was exhausted. Seeing Rhodes submerge briefly twice, the firemen holding the rope pulled him back. Other firemen arrived with rowboats. Rhodes and a fireman used one boat to save Freeland as others removed his companion from the water.
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