EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 23, 2013

Letter: Thanks to the brave men who saved our daughter

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Our family would like to express our profound gratitude to the six local men who on Thursday, April 18, saved our daughter from drowning in her overturned, submerged vehicle on Gilcreast Road.

They are: Doug Ball, Londonderry; Jim Ornsteen, Londonderry; Robert Maiella, Derry; Craig Dempsey, Windham; Bernie Rouillard, Windham; and Mike Elliott, Derry.

Today, when so many of us are recoiling in sadness and disillusion over the merciless carnage in Boston, perhaps we need focus on what remains in our society which is good and honorable and fine.

Unfortunately, we are raising a generation that is increasingly desensitized to the injustice and violence so prevalent in the media and World Wide Web. A story such as this restores our faith in the humanity and valor of our fellow man. Our daughter is alive today due to the efforts of these men.

Once we emerged from the initial shock of the incident, and had time to digest the riveting press accounts of the scene, we all dealt with various emotions.

Our primary reaction was one of overwhelming gratitude for the levelheadedness and selflessness of these, our local neighbors. Some of them suffered their own injuries while extricating her from the tangled mess. As yet we have not had the chance to fully and properly express our immeasurable thanks.

Another emotion has also surfaced, perhaps not uncommon in these situations, that of embarrassment at such a sudden, unexpected public exposure. We are private people, the “everyday Joes”, the “guys next door.” I guess we have always liked it that way. However, we realize that this is not about us, it is about them. It is about six guys, who, without a thought for themselves, jumped into the freezing water and shattered glass, and gave a helpless, drowning woman a second chance at life.

Perhaps the strongest feeling of all is that of unfathomable relief, and praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, who has seen our daughter through several rough years of cancer therapy — and saw her through this also.

She was not alone, unconscious in that cold, dark, murky water. It was no quirk of fate that six strong men, totally unconnected, were all travelling down a suburban back road, at precisely 2 o’clock on a weekday afternoon.

How these six separate individuals fused together into an organized, efficient machine, racing the clock, defies human explanation. We acknowledge this miracle, giving honor to God, for His mercy and protection, and to the brave, capable men who were used as His instruments. May He bless them, and their families, for giving our daughter, wife, mother and sister back to us. They have our utmost gratitude.

Ken and Robin Topham