Verner K. Holmquist died helping to save Howard D. Rennerfeldt from drowning, Oakdale, California, September 12, 1959. When he drifted into water beyond his depth in the Stanislaus River, Howard, 7, flailed wildly and called for help. His father and then Holmquist, 43, aircraft tool expediter, who had removed only their shoes, waded after him. When his father reached him, Howard climbed onto him and forced him beneath the surface. Wading and then swimming 20 feet, Holmquist reached Howard after he and his father had surfaced separately. Both struggled to remain afloat. Howard grasped Holmquist about the head and climbed onto him, causing him to be submerged. As he sank, Holmquist took hold of Howard and held him at the surface while they drifted downstream. Meanwhile Lloyd L. Waterman had entered the water without removing his clothing. Using a tree limb, he drew Howard’s father to wadable water. Waterman then waded toward Howard, who still was being held above water by Holmquist from beneath the surface. By then they had been carried into water eight feet deep in an eddy caused by accumulated debris extending from the bank. As Waterman then swam toward him, Howard began to submerge. Holmquist still was beneath the surface. Waterman attempted to grasp Howard, but he sank. Waterman submerged and brought him to the surface. Towing Howard, Waterman swam six feet to where his wife had waded into the water. She took Howard from her husband, who then quickly undressed to his underwear. He swam to a point downstream from where he had reached Howard and made a surface dive in the eddy for Holmquist but did not find him. After surfacing for air, he made another dive alongside the debris and located Holmquist. Waterman took hold of Holmquist, surfaced, and towed him ten feet to wadable water, from where Howard’s father aided in taking him to the bank. Waterman administered oral respiration until firemen arrived with a resuscitator. Holmquist could not be revived. Howard recovered.
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