This post was done originally on my old blog, The Better Side of Humanity. It still applies so I copied it over here. Enjoy!
Every once in a while you meet someone who really stands out and impresses you.
That would not be true of one of my friends from when I was in the Navy; Tim. There is not one single thing about him that stands out in any way what-so-ever.
So what if he and some of his friends got together with some beer and a barbecue on some warm, calm and sunny day to have a party in his back yard and go swimming with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary going on? Big deal! He’s just an average guy right?
Okay… so it wasn’t exactly a party, per se, it was more work related. And there wasn’t any beer and likely no barbecue either. I’m not exactly clear on that point.
Well, one thing I should mention is the “friends” I mentioned weren’t exactly what you’d call friends either, in the Navy they are called “shipmates” but they could be friends, or not, based on whatever they decide.
Also I don’t know how warm it was either so we can forget all about that too because it could have been quite cold. He hasn’t told me that part of the story yet.
One other thing I could tell you which I originally omitted is that instead of jumping into the water from a diving board or the edge of the pool, it was from a Navy helicopter. I’m told that this is somehow different.
Other than that I’m sure my report is completely accurate…except of course for where this “party” happened was not exactly in his backyard. It was somewhere between the Philippine Islands and Japan. Small details yes, but still they went swimming in the ocean, so how bad could it have been right? We all like to hang out on the beach and go for a nice relaxing swim in the sea.
Only it wasn’t quite what most people would describe as “calm” either. Instead it was in the driving wind and rain. Oh, and the waves in the ocean were somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty feet but how significant could that really be?
However there was nothing other than that out of the ordinary for a swim in the ocean hundreds of miles from land. Well…except I guess I could mention the freighter which broke up on the big waves and sank. But what the hell, if thirty foot waves could sink a ship what could they do to a person who is swimming in them? No problem! Right?
I mean it would have been easy! A piece of cake… Except that when the sunken freighter broke up it dumped its cargo into the sea. It had been carrying a load of telephone pole sized pieces of lumber, which were then floating on the water and formed a huge log jam that was bouncing all over on the huge waves. No doubt they were smashing into each other or anybody who happened to be in the water at the time with incredibly deadly force. So what? It’s just a day’s work.
There’s nothing unusual about it except one might be inclined to ask “Why would somebody do something like that?” The simple answer would be to save the lives of the crewmen on the freighter, of which they were regrettably only able to save fourteen out of the twenty. And he didn’t just jump in once, grab a bunch of people and then move on, he jumped in numerous times over a period of time lasting more than six hours.
As a matter of fact the only thing out of the ordinary with Tim is that when I asked him if he would mind my writing a story about this event his response was “Sure... If you think anybody'd be interested.” I can even kind of see him in my mind nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders as he typed it. That’s kind of unusual but other than that he’s just your everyday kind of guy. Oh, I almost forgot, he won the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, which is the highest peacetime award for heroism that the Navy can give out.
Yes, Tim is just another ordinary dime-a-dozen kind of guy. At least for a veteran.