Gary Lee Gerontis helped to save Joseph A. Reasoner from drowning, Tacoma, Washington, November 11, 1969. Joseph, 16, high school student, who could not swim, fell from a dock into deep water in Commencement Bay. He attempted to reach one of the dock pilings but was moved away from it by tidal current. Gerontis, 19, fish market manager, was attracted, ran about 300 feet and, after removing his shoes, jumped from the dock into the cold water nine feet below. He swam to Joseph, who then was 13 feet from the dock. Joseph put his arms around the neck of Gerontis and struggled briefly. Gerontis began towing him toward a low dock about 60 feet away but felt his hands becoming numb and swam instead to a piling under the high dock. Holding Joseph to the piling, which was covered with barnacles, Gerontis called to persons on the dock to get a rope. Both Joseph and Gerontis were shaking uncontrollably. A rope was lowered, and Gerontis secured it around Joseph’s chest. While Joseph was being lifted to the high dock, Gerontis swam to the low one in order to get out as quickly as possible. Both Joseph and Gerontis recovered from effects of the cold water.
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