Thomas Shannon McKeough helped to save James A. and Marie E. Buffington from drowning, Kentwood, Michigan, December 22, 1997. Buffington, 83, was the driver, and his wife, 81, the passenger, of a car that left the highway, went down an embankment, and entered a pond that was partially covered with ice. The car began to sink nose first in water 10 feet deep at a point about 25 feet from the bank. Seeing the car in the pond while driving by, McKeough, 41, tool dealer, stopped at the scene, as did other motorists. Removing only his coat and shoes and taking a hammer with him, McKeough waded and swam to the car, only the back of which remained above water. He climbed onto the trunk, broke out the rear window, and helped Mrs. Buffington to exit the car. McKeough then entered the car for Buffington, who, unconscious, remained in the driver’s seat. After withdrawing, McKeough entered the car again, that time fully, and pulled Buffington into the back-seat area with him. McKeough exited the car, then pulled Buffington onto the trunk. A man who had swum to the car took Mrs. Buffington to wadable water, while McKeough towed her husband there. Others waded into the pond and took the couple to the bank. Mrs. Buffington was treated for exposure to cold water, and she recovered; her husband underwent surgery for an unrelated condition and died 10 days later.
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