George Willis Gardner saved Harry F. Steenwerth from drowning, Wellsville, New York, December 7, 1933. While Steenwerth, 43, and Gardner, 29, oil refinery foreman, were attempting to recover a boat that was floating a few feet below a dam in the Genesee River, their rowboat drifted beneath the overflow and began to sink at a point 50 feet from the bank. They jumped into the water. The water dropped 18 inches over the dam, and turbulent water four feet deep extended 12 feet from the dam on an apron. Steenwerth, who was heavily clothed and wore rubber boots, swam and drifted to a point three feet beyond the apron, was briefly submerged in water eight feet deep, and called for help. Gardner, who was a poor swimmer and heavily clothed, had started to swim toward shore. He was at a point three feet from the apron but did not know of it nor that there was wadable water near. He heard the call and swam 20 feet to Steenwerth. Supporting Steenwerth, he swam 10 feet toward their boat, which was floating bottom up three feet from the dam and 45 feet from the bank. Lowering his feet because of his heavy boots, Gardner unexpectedly got footing. Dragging Steenwerth, he waded to the boat and placed Steenwerth upon it. He then waded and pushed the boat 10 feet toward the bank. His legs then were becoming numb, and he called for help. Men on the bank pushed the end of a boom 30 feet long to him. After placing Steenwerth upon the boom, Gardner clung to the end, and men pulled him and Steenwerth to the bank. Steenwerth was semiconscious but soon revived.
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