Principal Jumps in Icy River to Save Autistic Boy

Both are doing fine after rescue
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2012 10:49 AM CST
Elementary school principal Gwen Rhodes in Rochester, N.H.   (AP Photo/Liz Markhlevskaya/Foster's Daily Democrat)

(Newser) – The Union Leader of New Hampshire has a nice tale of humble heroism: A school principal jumped into the Cocheco River and rescued a 10-year-old autistic boy who had fallen through the ice. The boy had run away from a teacher and through nearby woods before walking onto the river's ice. Gwen Rhodes followed his footsteps until she heard him scream. “He looked at me and he said, 'Help.’ I said his name and said, 'Don’t move’ and just then the ice cracked and at that point he’s going into the water, so I just reacted to get closer to him,” she told the paper.

She managed to swim with the boy through the ice and get him up a steep embankment before rescue crews arrived. Both were treated for hypothermia and bruises. “I think what I want people to know is I did what I did because I was in a circumstance where I had to think quickly,” she said. “Which is what an educator does every day.”

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