|Weston man rescued from Maumee River|
|Written by By WILL MALONE Sentinel Staff Writer|
|Thursday, 22 October 2009 12:10|
HASKINS - When three men ran into some boat trouble on the river Wednesday, Michelle Gilford wasted no time jumping into the river to help one of the passengers swim to shore.
According to the Wood County Sheriff's Office, three men - George Albert, 41, of Weston, his son George Albert, 21, from Perrysburg, and Aaron Snyder, 21, of Perrysburg - were on the Maumee River in the area of Cross Creek Road and River Road around noon when their boat motor quit and the craft began taking on water.
Sgt. Jim Shank said this morning that the passengers flipped out of the boat and two swam to shore. With the older Albert still in the river, one of the other passengers ran up the riverbank to Ohio 65 to flag down help.
Gilford, a Toledo resident and 12-year Army Reservist, immediately stopped her county vehicle and followed the boat passenger down to the river while someone else called 911.
She had been driving between work sites for her job as a wastewater operator for the Northwestern Water and Sewer District.
Gilford said she would not characterize the scene as a dramatic rescue since Albert was above water and calm. But the water was cold and no one could free a nearby canoe from its moorings, so she grabbed a flotation device from the canoe and swam out to the man in the river. After grabbing onto Albert, they both kicked their way back to the shore.
"All I could think about was getting out there and getting him out of the water," she said.
She said her military training helped her respond with swift action to make sure the situation was resolved safely.
Albert played down the incident, saying it was not a life-threatening situation. However, he said the courage Gilford displayed was commendable and that it must have appeared to others like the river was too cold.
Shank said emergency attention was refused and the boat was recovered. He said most people would not have plunged into the cold water where a swimmer could not touch the river bed.
"Most people would stay back and wait for the fire department, but she just pretty much took it upon herself ...," Shank said. "She did a good job. She really did."
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