By: Gaétane F. Borders
Here in the state of Georgia, most kids have traded in their swimsuits for backpacks and new sneakers because it is back-to-school time. Despite this reminder that the summer has officially come to an end, I am still vacuuming sand from the carpet in my car. See, my family spent most of the summer lounging and playing on various beaches. As a non-swimmer (Yes, I know it’s pathetic), I have always been extremely…I mean über paranoid of my children swimming out of my reach in the ocean. That is why the story of Charles Ostrander immediately caught my attention.
Charles, who goes by Dale, was visiting Long Beach, Washington with a church group a few days ago. Somehow he got caught in a very strong tide. Upon hearing his cries for help, a 12-year-old girl named Nicole Kissel defied her father’s objections and immediately paddled out to Dale who struggled to stay afloat. She managed to reach him, and helped him onto her boogie board. Reportedly, the two youths paddled in an attempt to reach shore. The water was extremely rough, and Nicole remembers thinking "We're going to die. I can't die like this!”
A large wave knocked them both off. Although Nicole successfully climbed back on her board, Dale disappeared into the violent waters. Nicole eventually made it back to shore, but it took some time before rescue workers found Dale’s lifeless body about two feet below the surface of the water. CPR was immediately commenced, but Dale was lifeless. As imagined, his family braced themselves for the worst. But, his pulse returned once he reached the hospital, and a day later Dale opened his eyes. He soon uttered a few words to his family. Then, again later when Nicole visited him, he spoke. According to news reports, Nicole stated that Dale was having difficulty focusing his eyes for most of the 15-minute reunion. But as she left, he made direct eye contact for the first time and said, "Thank you."
No doubt, Dale has a long recovery ahead of him, as he was underwater and without oxygen for approximately 15 minutes. I wish him the speediest recovery, and given how he has defied the expected…he most definitely has the fighter spirit needed to do so.
Nicole’s actions were so completely selfless and heroic! She acted without hesitation because she saw that someone needed help. She can serve as an inspiration to those of us who stand in the background when we witness something that we know is wrong, or when we know that someone is in harm’s way. Here is clip from the popular TV show titled What Would You Do. This particular segment shows various scenarios in which a pedophile attempts to lure away a 10-year-old girl. Do you think all the adults present intervened and reported the attempted abduction? Watch and see…..then ask yourself “What would I do?”
P.S….. I often role play with my kids and pretend to be the “tricky adult.” But, I watched this video with them so they could see someone other than mommy or daddy being the “stranger” that tries to lure them. Their reaction was very moving to me. They were fixated on the characters that tried to harm the young girl because it made it very real to them. The discussion that we had after viewing the video was so very instructional and important. So, I strongly urge you to share this with your school-aged child. You might be surprised by their definition of the word stranger.
Gaétane F. Borders is President of Peas In Their Pods, and is also a certified School Psychologist who works closely with the inner-city youth and their parents. She is an advocate of children’s rights and strives to help parent achieve healthy, harmonious, and emotionally stable environments for their children. She is a sought after media consultant, and is often featured in print, radio, and television.