John Louis Picone III helped to save Matthew R. Hereford from drowning, Slidell, Louisiana, July 13, 1994. Matthew, 6, was a passenger in an automobile which, in a highway accident, went off a bridge into Lake Pontchartrain at a point about 1.5 miles from shore. The car sank, in water about 15 feet deep, but its occupants surfaced, with Matthew, semiconscious, appearing last. Although injured himself, Matthew’s older brother supported him in the water. Motorists stopping at the scene threw ropes and life jackets to the victims, but the aids fell short of the brother’s grasp. One of the motorists, Picone, 20, bar porter, jumped the 15 feet into the lake without knowing either the depth of the water or the location of the submerged car. He swam to the boys, en route removing his shoes and retrieving two life jackets. He took Matthew from his brother and over the course of several minutes supported him with one arm while holding onto a life jacket with his other arm. An arriving rescue boat recovered Picone, Matthew and his brother, and the other victims of the accident. Matthew and the other victims required hospital treatment for their injuries, and they recovered.
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