Michael E. O’Connor helped to save Dennis L. Rueb from drowning, Walnut Grove, California, April 22, 1961. Dennis, 11, fell 23 feet from a railroad trestle into water 10 feet deep in the Delta Cross Channel. He was submerged briefly and then floundered weakly 50 feet from a high concrete wall extending along the bank. Michael, 15, schoolboy, removed his shirt and shoes and jumped from the trestle into the water near Dennis, who again had submerged briefly. He extended his shirt, which he had dropped into the water, to Dennis and urged him to take hold of it. Dennis made no attempt to do so and started to sink. Michael swam to Dennis, who grasped his hand and started to climb onto him. His struggles twice caused them to be submerged. Under water Michael thrust Dennis away. Both then surfaced. As Dennis again began to sink, Michael took hold of him and held him at the surface. Michael tired rapidly as he towed Dennis toward rocks at the end of the wall. After swimming 100 feet he was so fatigued he stopped and trod water, still supporting Dennis. A fisherman atop the wall then cast a heavy fishing line to Michael and Dennis, and both grasped it. The man drew them 30 feet to the rocks, where others aided them out of the water.
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