Makeda S. Barkley helped to save a boy, and saved Kujtime Ajro, from drowning, Mount Vernon, Iowa, June 19, 2011. A 9-year-old boy and his younger brother were wading in the Cedar River close to the bank when they lost their footing and were pulled farther out and downstream by a strong current. A man who had been fishing at the scene and Ajro, 29, who was a family friend in the boys’ party, swam out to them in rescue attempts, but the boys struggled against them. Ajro took hold of the older boy and attempted to return him to the bank, but the boy continued to struggle against her as they were pulled downstream. Meanwhile, Makeda, 16, high school student, in another party at the scene, responded to the river. Seeing that Ajro was having difficulty with the older boy, she entered the water and swam to them. Makeda took the boy from Ajro and swam him to the bank, and then, with a makeshift flotation device, she returned to Ajro and took her to safety. Ajro, who had swallowed water and was exhausted, required hospital treatment for having nearly drowned, and she recovered. The younger boy was rescued by a man from another party at the scene, but the fisherman submerged and drowned.
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