Michael John Padellaro saved Evelyn Alvarez from drowning, Lawrence, Massachusetts, December 5, 1992. Evelyn, 15, struggled to stay afloat after the car of which she had been an occupant entered the Merrimack River and submerged at night. Driving nearby, Padellaro, 27, off-duty police officer, was alerted to the situation and responded to the scene. He immediately entered the frigid river and swam to Evelyn, who by then had submerged. He found her, returned her to the surface of the water, and, with difficulty in the coldness, began to swim back to the bank with her. A police officer who had arrived by then took Evelyn from Padellaro in wadable water and removed her from the river. Padellaro then turned and swam back to look for Evelyn’s friend, who also had been struggling in the water and had submerged. After searching for him without success, Padellaro swam bank to the bank, where he had to be helped from the river by others. Evelyn and Padellaro were taken to the hospital, where Padellaro was treated for hypothermia; he recovered. The body of Evelyn’s friend was recovered later that day.
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