Ronald E. Varholdt saved David B. Boettcher from drowning, Kalispell, Montana, September 21, 1969. At night Boettcher’s sedan plunged through the wooden guardrail of a bridge and landed upside down on the bottom of a creek where the water was six feet deep. A young man with Boettcher escaped, surfaced, and clung to a section of the guardrail which the current was holding against the sedan; but Boettcher, 19, U.S. Army private, became caught inside the vehicle and lost consciousness. Varholdt, 19, college student, was driving by and heard calls for help. In limited visibility he ran to the bank, jumped into the very cold water, and swam to the inverted sedan. Varholdt submerged and opened a door. When he surfaced for air his head struck the guardrail section, but he quickly regained his composure. Varholdt submerged and reached into the automobile but could not locate anyone. He then entered the sedan, found Boettcher, and freed him. After drawing Boettcher from the automobile and surfacing with him, Varholdt held him to the guardrail and by artificial respiration soon restored his breathing. With aid from another man who had arrived, Boettcher and his companion were taken to the bank. Boettcher recovered after being hospitalized.
51057 – 568651057-5686