Shirley O’Donnell saved Mae M. Holly from drowning, Guntersville, Alabama, February 19, 1991. Mrs. Holly, 65, had just started to drive across abridge spanning Guntersville Lake when her car skidded on the wet pavement, mounted the guardrail, then fell into 15 feet of water. Its back window broken out, the car, which was upright, began to sink at a point about 50feet from the bank. Miss O’Donnell, 26, arrived upon the scene shortly and was alerted to the accident. She immediately climbed down to the bank, and, despite the very cold water, entered the lake and swam to Mrs. Holly’s car, which was continuing to sink. Attempting without success to open a rear door of the car, Miss O’Donnell shouted for Mrs. Holly to climb through the rear window, which she did. Mounting the trunk of the submerging vehicle, Miss O’Donnell grasped Mrs. Holly, one of whose arms was incapacitated because of recent surgery. Her legs becoming numb, Miss O’Donnell swam back to the bank, towing Mrs. Holly. Mrs. Holly was treated at the hospital for exposure, and she required sutures to a cut hand; she recovered. Miss O’Donnell also recovered from the cold.
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