Jennifer Nye, one of two women who saved an 11-year-old girl from drowning in the Great Miami River Monday afternoon, credits God and several people for the girl’s life.
Nye and others from Hamilton’s Dayton Lane neighborhood were gathered along the river Monday afternoon near the Soldiers, Sailors and Pioneers monument and the nearby historic log cabin to celebrate the late Bob Sherwin, who was a leading figure in the historic preservation of their neighborhood and the cabin when a young boy yelled, “Somebody’s in the water!”
At the time, Nye said she was taking pictures during the tree-dedication when someone screamed, “Call 911! Somebody’s drowning!”
Nye estimates the girl was about a third of the way out into the river. A man swam toward the girl, but realizing when he couldn’t make it to the girl turned back toward the shore.
A young girl yelled to him that he was so close, he should keep going. The girl yelled to the people on the shore, “Why are you all just standing around and watching?”
“I thought, ‘She’s right,’” Nye said. She threw off her purse, but kept on her polarized prescription glasses, which she said helped her see the girl despite the glare of the sun off the river.
The water “was very comfortable, temperature-wise,” said Nye, 56, wife of former mayor Tom Nye. She was a swimmer until about junior high school, and competed in the individual medley, which combines the four competitive strokes.
When Nye was about 3 to 4 feet from the girl, she went under as she had several times.
“She had gone down enough that I truly don’t think she would have come back up if I hadn’t grabbed her,” Nye said. She couldn’t see the girl in the muddy water, and just grabbed where she thought she might be. She grasped fabric, which turned out to be her swimsuit.
Another woman swam in and helped bring the girl out, each woman taking one side of her.
Nye credits “God, Bob Sherwin and Holly” for the save.
“If God wasn’t there, none of us would have been there,” she said. And if not for the memorial service for Sherwin, probably nobody would have been there to hear the screams for help.
“I think Bob is her guardian angel,” said Nye.
The mother of three, who all were lifeguards at the Fairfield Aquatic Center, said her jeans made her feel like she was dragging 95 pounds with her. She lost her phone to the water.
Before Nye left the water, she looked up and saw the girl “was sitting up and talking to the police.” Nye took a while before she was able to leave the river herself, standing in knee-deep water and recovering from her effort.
Nye said she was thankful to have saved the girl’s life: “I just hope she’s able to live a good life and be happy,” she said.
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