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Woman saves 2 from drowning

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WORTHINGTON -- Jami Cummings was headed back to her job at Worthington Federal Savings Bank after lunch Wednesday when she drove right into a crisis situation.

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"I came around the corner by Sailboard Beach and noticed a lady up there, and it looked like something was happening. She came running toward the road with her hands up," Cummings recounted Wednesday evening. "She couldn't speak English, so I didn't know what she was saying, but she kept pointing out into the water."

When Cummings looked over toward the lake, she saw a body floating face down, and that's when she sprang into action.

"I just pulled up alongside the road, and for a minute I didn't know if I should call 911, but by that time I didn't know how long it had already been," she said. "I jumped out, handed the woman my phone, told her to call 911, and ran into the water."

Cummings kicked her shoes off and waded out until her feet would no longer touch the bottom and started swimming.

"She kept going under and coming back up," Cummings said about the scene she swam toward. "I tried to lift her up and out of the water, and it was then that I saw (a child) hanging on to her chest."

The little girl -- likely the woman's daughter, Cummings speculated -- was probably younger than 5 years old. She later learned from some young boys who helped to translate that the child had entered the water first and the woman had gone after her.

"I just swam as fast as I could and got them to shore," she continued. "I got to the point where I could walk, got them to the rocks, and then called 911."

Both victims were reportedly OK, according to Cummings, although medical attention was sought for the young girl, who had swallowed some water.

Since Cummings couldn't return to work in her dripping-wet and sandy state, she chose to go to her home in Brewster, where the enormity of what could have happened really hit, and she spent some time hugging her own kids.

"Somebody said they could have pulled me under, but I didn't know who was out there, and I wasn't just going to stand there and wait for somebody else to help," she said. "I was just there, and I hope somebody else would do the same thing."

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Beth Rickers
Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at http://lagniappe.areavoices.com/.  
(507) 376-7327
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