William F. Kessler helped to save Robert H. Fordham from drowning, Grosse Tete, Louisiana, August 11, 1988. Fordham, 40, was thrown from his truck after an accident on a portion of an interstate highway that was elevated over a swamp. He landed in the deep, murky water of the swamp and, unable to swim due to his injuries, called for help and submerged repeatedly. Traveling separately on the same highway, Kessler, 24, medical student, and another man arrived at the scene and saw Fordham’s struggle. Together, they jumped feet first from the highway into the swamp about 40 feet below. Surfacing, they swam to Fordham, and each took hold of him. Kessler and the other man then swam about 40 feet toward the nearest dry land, Fordham in tow. They tended him until a boat arrived and took him to safety. Fordham was hospitalized five days for injuries to his back and a hip. Kessler also required hospital treatment, for an injury to his left shoulder, and he recovered.
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