Michael J. Gerndt, Sr., saved Pilar Vallet and attempted to save Mary L. Nonnenmacher from drowning, New Buffalo, Michigan, September 4, 1991. Ms. Vallet, 55, and Ms. Nonnenmacher, 43, were swimming in Lake Michigan when a very strong current took them farther from shore. Walking on the beach, Gerndt, 41, safety officer, and his wife were alerted to the situation. Taking a child’s inflated ring with him, Gerndt immediately entered the lake and swam to Ms. Vallet, who was about 300 feet from shore. He seized her and, swimming with one arm, towed her against the current toward shore. They were met in wadable water by Gerndt’s wife, who helped to remove Ms. Vallet from the lake. Gerndt then swam back out for Ms. Nonnenmacher, but she was not visible to him. Tiring, Gerndt returned to shore. Ms. Nonnenmacher was removed from the lake two hours later by authorities, but she could not be revived. Ms. Vallet was taken to the hospital, where she died the next day.
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