14 Year Old Teen Saves Two Men from Drowning

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14 Year Old Teen Saves Two Men from Drowning

Sun over Norwalk River 16 Jan 2009

Sun over Norwalk River 16 Jan 2009 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Some careful listening and quick thinking by a 14 year old teen saved two adult men from drowning in Norwalk, Connecticut. A sophomore at Norwalk High School, Gordon Arnette was standing outside of a local CVS pharmacy when he overheard two grown men discuss going for a swim in the nearby Norwalk River. Gordon realized that the men were intoxicated and the smart teen knew that the idea was a bad one. Ironically just weeks earlier Arnette was told by his PE instructor that he did not have strong enough swimming skills to become a lifeguard, but his actions on this afternoon proved that the teacher was very wrong.

Both men were life long residents in the city, so the men should have realized that the river was swollen by recent rainfall. In addition one of the adults was prone to seizures due to epilepsy, and this complicated matters as well. If Gordon had ignored the conversation that he overheard and continued on his way the outcome of this story may have been very different and tragedy could have resulted.

Both Men Had Been Drinking and Were in No Shape To Go Swimming

Even though the teen was young, Arnette was mature enough to realize that the two adults had been drinking. Gordon followed the men when they left the pharmacy area and headed down to the river for their swim. Before the two men got into the water the teen asked them not to do it because he realized how dangerous the river was at the time. Both men shrugged off the concerns that the teen expressed and jumped into the water anyway. As soon as the current in the river hit them the men were swept off their feet and in immediate trouble.

Thanks to the brave actions of Grodon both of the men survived their foolish plans. If the teen had not been there they could have drowned in the river. When Gordon saw that the men were being swept away the teen jumped into an inflatable raft on the bank. Without any paddles the teen used his hands to get out onto the water and reach the pair.

Quick Thinking Teen Saves Both Men, Earned Him Praise In the Community

When the brave teen reached the first intoxicated individual he managed to hang on to the man while he used his other hand to navigate the raft to where the second gentleman was flailing. To make things worse  the guy rescued last was having an epileptic seizure so he could not assist in his own rescue. Without hesitation Arnette left the first rescued swimmer hanging on to the side of the boat while the teen jumped in to rescue the other one. According to the teen “It was hard, but I grabbed him by his chin like they taught me in school, and I got his arm and put it over the other side of the raft.” By the time police arrived the 14 year old had managed to bring both men safely to shore, and the report from the police department credits the teen with saving both men. Gordon’s childhood dream of being a lifeguard is still possible after this heroic rescue.

Below are some questions to think about and comment on. Comments and thoughts can be provided in the comment box below.

  • What would you do if you heard this conversation? Would you follow the men?
  • Could Gordon Arnette have just call emergency services and reported the situation when the men refused to listen? Why or why not?
  • How have you helped someone else recently?
  • Should the teen have ignored the situation since the men were intoxicated instead of risking his own life?
  • What would you do in the same situation? Would your actions be different?
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