Shawn William Edele died after helping to save John P. Van Etten from drowning, Delray Beach, Florida, May 31, 2007. Van Etten, 23, and his coworker, Edele, 31, cable installer, were wading and swimming in the Atlantic Ocean. Pulled farther from shore, Van Etten tried to swim back, but he made no progress in the rough water against the current. He called for help to Edele, who was in knee-deep water nearer shore. Edele swam out to Van Etten, established a hold on him, and supported him to keep his head out of the water. A wave broke over and separated them. Edele was pulled farther out, but Van Etten struggled to swim to shore and reached wadable water and then the beach, where he lay exhausted. Rescue personnel responded shortly and recovered Edele from a point about 250 feet from shore. He was taken to the hospital but could not be revived, as he had drowned.
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Shawn William Edele, 31 of Fruitport, Mich., died on Thursday, May 31, 2007, after helping to save a friend from drowning in the Atlantic Ocean at Delray Beach, Fla.
Edele was born on Feb. 22, 1976, in Brunswick, Maine, to Kenton and Caitlyn (Tenney) Edele. He spent his childhood in Maine, Illinois and California. He graduated from high school in Monterey, Calif., then moved to Fruitport.
Edele worked as a cable installer as part of a team that traveled for out-of-state work. Following Hurricane Katrina in 2005, his team did installations in the New Orleans area.
Edele’s team was at Delray Beach on the day that he died because of work there. In March 2009, the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission posthumously awarded him the Carnegie Medal.
Edele was buried at Fruitport Cemetery in Fruitport.
(Edited from an obituary published on the website for the Clock Funeral Home in Fruitport.)