Willard E. Kinser, 44, garage operator, helped to save Elsie P. Smith, 46, from drowning, Griswold, Iowa, July 2, 1958. When heavy rains caused East Nishnabotna River near their home to overflow, Mrs. Smith and her husband sought refuge atop their automobile but soon were swept by the rising water into the swift stream. The husband was carried to a partially submerged tree and later was crushed to death by debris. Mrs. Smith secured a hold on a log and was swept downstream. A highway patrolman, who was suspended from a bridge by a rope held by two other men, was unable to grasp Mrs. Smith as she passed. Farther downstream the county game warden and two patrolmen launched a motorboat and started to Mrs. Smith’s aid. Before reaching her, the boat’s motor became inoperable because of the debris; and the craft was swept downstream, eventually reaching safety. Still farther downstream Kinser and Dale C. Willoughby, neither of whom was a good swimmer, went to Mrs. Smith’s aid in Kinser’s outboard motorboat, taking along a rope. Kinser piloted the boat upstream into deep water between the bank and the debris-filled area, which was generally 70 feet wide. Current was seven miles an hour. They saw Mrs. Smith, still clinging to the log, being carried toward them at the opposite side of the debris stream. Kinser cautiously piloted the boat through the debris, pieces of which occasionally struck the craft and the propeller blades of the motor. Near the opposite side of the debris area, Mrs. Smith, who nearly was unconscious, was swept alongside the boat. Willoughby quickly tied the rope about Mrs. Smith’s wrists and, lest he capsize the boat by trying to pull her aboard, held her against the side. In order to return to the bank, where an ambulance was waiting, Kinser then carefully piloted the craft back through the debris. With difficulty he maneuvered the boat out of the swift current and thence to the bank. Mrs. Smith, who had been in the water four hours, was hospitalized for a week and recovered in three months.
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