Herbert E. Saindon saved Robert A. Lacroix from drowning, Vassalboro, Maine, July 28, 1962. When his outboard motorboat struck a float anchored in Webber Lake, Lacroix, 38, painter, who could not swim, was thrown into deep water and submerged 220 feet from shore and five feet beyond the float. The boat, its steering mechanism jammed, began rapidly circling the float at five to 15 feet from it. Lacroix rose to the surface but submerged when he saw the runaway boat heading toward him. Saindon, 23, insect exterminator, was attracted and from shore saw the hands of Lacroix twice appear above the surface before he lost consciousness and sank. Saindon quickly undressed to his trousers, ran 70 feet onto a boat dock, and dived into the water. As he swam 245 feet diagonally to the near side of the float, the circling boat once passed within 10 feet of him. Saindon climbed onto the float, ran 15 feet across it, and re-entered the water. He was two feet from the float when the runaway boat passed within three feet of him at a speed of 20 m.p.h. Submerging five feet from the float, Saindon located Lacroix, took hold of his hair, and surfaced with him. As Saindon towed Lacroix five feet to the float, the circling boat passed within five feet of them. Too tired and weak to boost Lacroix onto the float, Saindon held him against it and began efforts to revive him. A man and his son arrived in a rowboat as the motorboat veered away from the float after striking one side of it. The man aided Saindon in lifting Lacroix onto the float, where he soon recovered.
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Herbert E. Saindon, Jr., of St. Augustine, Fla., died on Jan. 5, 2013.
He was born and raised in Waterville, Maine. He served in the Navy for 20 years and then owned and operated a repair business in Jacksonville, Fla., for 20 years.
Saindon was a proud recipient of the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission’s Carnegie Medal and a member of the American Legion Post 0037 in St. Augustine.
A celebration of life was held on Jan. 10, 2013, at the Craig Funeral Home in St. Augustine. A private burial followed at Jacksonville National Cemetery in Jacksonville.
(Edited from an obituary in the St. Augustine Record, Jan. 6, 2013.)