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right place at the right time
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Saving The Lives Of Three People
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My definition of a hero is someone who is in the right place at the right time to save someone's life. A hero doesn't plan to become a hero. He or she just reacts to a life-threatening situation and instincts just kicks in.

On three occasions I had the opportunity to save a person's life.

The first time was on a hike. The trail is up in a hilly area above a town called Haleiwa, on the North Shore of Oahu. Thirty hikers were doing the hike that day. At the end of the trail is a beautiful pool . Just before the pool is a dried river bed with a concrete dam. That's where we stopped to rest and had lunch. The trail skirts near a cliff before descending to the dam.

Suddenly, we all heard a terrifying scream. A 14 year old girl from our group had just fallen off the cliff above us. A small root had stopped her fall about 15 feet from the top of the cliff. It's lucky for her that the root stopped her fall, because that cliff is about 60 feet high. The fall would probably have killed her.

Nine of us ran to the top of the cliff. None of us had any ropes so we had to improvise. We created a human rope by hanging on to each other's waists. We were able to pull her up to safety.

The next incident took place at the First Hawaiian Bank Recreation Center, in Waianae, Oahu.

The recreation center has a 25 meter pool. A friend of mine named Mike, and I were wading in the shallow end of the pool. Mike decides to swim to the other side of the pool, the deep end. Before this incident I didn't know Mike couldn't swim.

Halfway across the pool Mike starts to panic. He starts flailing his arms and is taking in a lot of water.

I am not trained as a lifeguard and I make the mistake of approaching Mike from the front. Wrong move. Mike starts to grab at me desperately and pushes me under the water. I don't panic though. I go to the bottom of the pool (7 feet). and push Mike back to the surface and to the side of the pool.

Mike hoists himself up and on the pool deck. He coughs up a lot of water, but he was also okay.

The third incident happened just recently, on 8/2/11. I was bodyboarding at my favorite surf spot called Cunha's, in Waikiki. The waves were about 2 feet that day. There were lulls of about 18 to 20 minutes between sets. This can give the inexperienced swimmer of unitiated tourists a false sense of security.

I caught a wave and was heading back out to catch more waves when I noticed the next wave had crashed into a young father and his two kids on their inflatable raft. The wave had tossed all three of them in the water. The father and son (about 6), were treading water. They were okay.

The little girl was in trouble, she was drowning.

Since I was the closest to them, I grabbed the raft and brought it to the girl. She frantically grasped the raft and hung on for dear life. All three got back to shore safely.

The one thing I remember is the look of fear on all of their faces, and especially the fear I saw in their eyes. You can never forget that look.

Street Talk

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