Gary Lester Johns helped to save a man from drowning, Portland, Oregon, April 9, 1998. A 30-year-old man jumped from a bridge into the Columbia River, in sight of patrons of a nearby restaurant, including Johns, 41, business operator. Seeing that the man was being carried downstream by the current and that he appeared to be tiring from any attempt to reach the bank, Johns left the restaurant and ran along the bank, following the man’s course. Although recovering from serious burns to his legs sustained three weeks earlier, Johns entered the water, with a piece of wooden debris that he had picked up, and swam toward the man. He abandoned the effort when the wooden piece proved too cumbersome to manipulate. Johns returned to the bank but then re-entered the river after securing an old life ring from a nearby residence. Holding the life ring in front of him, Johns kicked and maneuvered to the man, reaching him at a point about 300 feet from the bank and a half-mile from the bridge. A river patrol boat responded to the scene, recovered the man and Johns, and took them to the bank. The man required hospitalization, and Johns was cold and tired, but he recovered.
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