Joseph W. Shires helped to save Todd W. and Terrance M. Mason from drowning, Waldport, Oregon, June 8, 1981. Todd, 31, and Terrance, 35, were trapped in the engine room of a capsized fishing vessel in turbulent waters of the Pacific Ocean. At night, after the Masons were heard knocking on the hull of the vessel, Shires, 36, truant officer and part-time diver, and another man, donned scuba gear and were taken to the scene by the U.S. Coast Guard. They submerged and entered the vessel, clearing it of debris, to search for the Masons. With the other man as a back-up on the exposed portion of the vessel, which was rolling in the extremely rough seas, Shires entered the vessel’s living quarters but could not locate the Masons. After surfacing for additional equipment and to determine the men’s location, Shires re-entered the vessel and with great difficulty made his way to the engine room, where he found the Masons in an air pocket. Before he could guide them from the room, Shires discovered his air tank was empty; he left the vessel for another. Returning again to the engine room, he guided Todd to the surface of the water, where the other diver assisted him to safety. Once more Shires returned to the engine room, where he assisted Terrance to the surface.
58113 – 660158113-6601