Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Larry Skutnik, 28, was a shy man who worked in a government office in Washington. On the afternoon of January 13, 1982, a severe snowstorm hit the city. He was on his way home when he ran into a traffic jam on one of the bridges over the Potomac River. He soon realized what the cause of it was-a plane with seventy-nine people on board had crashed into the river. He got out of his car to investigate and saw three people clinging to the tail of the aircraft which was sticking out of the water.
A helicopter brought two of them to the shore but the third, a woman, fell back into the freezing water, and started to go under. Without a thought, he took off his shoes and jacket, dived into the freezing water, and brought the woman to the shore. Afterwards he says he just wanted to go home. And after a brief trip to the hospital, he was allowed to do so.
His daring act of rescue was captured on television. He woke up the next morning to find himself a hero. But he shied away from the publicity. ‘The word ‘hero” makes me cringe,’ ‘he said.’ I reacted instinctively. That’s all.
It’s nice to know that people still recognize the greatness of an act like that. And it’s nice to know that someone can do such an act, and look on it as something normal and natural.
Peace and Everything good!
Fr. Valery Burusu