Susan M. Ricard saved John Benoit from drowning, Webster, Massachusetts, July 18, 2008. Benoit, 58, and his young granddaughter struggled against rough waters of Webster Lake after their sailboat capsized in one of the lake’s coves during an evening storm that approached suddenly. The storm brought thunder, lightning, and winds that were recorded as high as 33 m.p.h. From her home on the bank of the cove, Ricard, 37, teacher, was watching the storm over the lake and witnessed the accident. She immediately ran to the water and, taking two child’s short surfboards, entered it from the end of her dock. Clad in pajamas, she swam with difficulty against the wind and waves, which were white-capped, to Benoit, who was about 150 feet from the bank. En route she encountered his granddaughter, who was wearing a life jacket, and, reassuring her, directed her toward the bank. Ricard continued to Benoit and placed one of the boards under him. Using the second board for herself, she linked arms with Benoit and returned to the dock with him, aided by the waves. Benoit was taken to the hospital for observation.
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