Nanci J. Rutledge helped to save a boy from drowning, Pensacola Beach, Florida, April 3, 2001. A 10-year-old boy was swimming with a boogie board in the Gulf of Mexico when he became caught by a strong current that took him farther from shore and kept him from returning. From the beach, Ms. Rutledge, 37, program specialist, and the boy’s mother waded and swam to him. They grasped hold of the board and were struggling to swim free of the current when they were reached by a man who also had swum out from the beach to aid the boy. After the group was submerged in the breaking waves, Ms. Rutledge helped the boy and his mother regain their hold of the board, and she continued struggling to free them from the current. To help them reach safety, Ms. Rutledge pushed the boy and his mother toward shore, then, tiring, floated on her back until she was able to stand. She left the water aided by others, as did the boy and his mother. They were nearly exhausted but did not require medical treatment, and they recovered. The man who had swum out to help was removed from the water by arriving rescue personnel, but he could not be revived.
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