Two jump in pond to save disabled veteran and a third man helped from shore
Jacqueline Ingles , WFTS
9:25 AM, May 19, 2013
LEALMAN, Fla. - After double-amputee Robert Lunay fell into a pond in Florida, two bystanders, Robert Fields and Norman Steers, heard him calling for help and jumped in to rescue him. A third man, who couldn't swim, also came to the rescue.
"I thought about those alligators in the water but I really didn't care," said Fields. "He is veteran. I want to respect him. I took off my clothes and just told him to hold on, hold on, jumped in the water and grabbed him."
Lunay, 79, was looking over the pond behind the Disabled American Veterans office at 4801 37th Street North in Lealman, Fla., when his wheelchair slipped and he rolled into the pond.
Robert Baca heard the screams from inside the DAV and came running.
"Me personally, I can't swim so I didn't get in the water but I was trying to get his chair and help him out," said Baca.
By the time Baca got to the bank, Steere had already jumped into the water.
"I don't consider myself a hero," explained Steere. "The guy we saved is the hero. He gave his life. He probably lost his legs because of the war."
Multiple calls to 911 came in on the incident, and Lealman Fire District arrived to find Lunay being held up in the water near the bank by the two bystanders.
Lealman Firefighters helped Lunay get up the embankment. Lunay was not injured.
"Had it not been for Mr. Fields and Mr. Steers, this could have ended tragically," said Lealman Fire Captain Larry Thompson.
While all three men said they are not heroes they are agreeing on one thing.
"I'd do it again in a heartbeat if I had to," Steere said while Fields and Baca nodded.
Lunay is back at his home and did call all three of his rescuers on the phone.