Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

In late June, 1954, Arman was 17 years old living in Rio Dell with his parents.

Vic Carn, his wife Marie, and their two daughters, Susan, 14 years old, and Vicky, 11 years old, from San Francisco were close family friends and were visiting them.

My brother, Arman and I, were in the process of building a diving board at Stevens Grove just south of Myers Flat. The river ran through the park and there was a dandy swimming hole there. I had a wide Douglas fir plant that we were using. We had to stack up rocks by the rivers edge so the board would be high enough. We did this on Saturday. Arman said we could finish the job on Sunday.

Sunday morning we decided to take my wife and two girls with us to swim. Arman and I went right to work on our project which was on the other side of the river. The water there was about 10 ft. deep. The water on the beach side gradually got deeper so it was good for wading. The girls stayed on that side of the river. Arman and I were engrossed in our work when we heard shouting and screaming. When we looked over and saw a hand and forearm sticking out of the water about 60 ft. across and down stream we dove in the water in unison. Arman being the faster swimmer than me reached her first. It was Vicky.

Arman lifted her up out of the water and we went under. When I reached her I lifted her up and I went under, then she was gone. When I came up I saw her above the water moving toward the beach side of the river. Then I saw Arman’s head emerge. He had lifted her up and walked on the river’s floor to shallow water saving her from drowning. He carried her to her beach towel and lay her on it face down then he picked her up at the waist a few times. She was breathing OK. Arman said,  “she is all right”.

He then swam back across the river and started working on the board. We finished it that afternoon. Then after testing and admiring our work we went home.

That evening at the supper table when our family usually talked about the days events neither Arman nor I mentioned the incident. As a matter of fact I don’t think he ever told anyone about it. I know I never did.

My brother,  Arman, was an honest and humble man. He never bragged and always kept his word and I promise I can’t remember him ever saying negative things about anyone, with the exception of politicians. He was not exempt from tragedy, he always made the best of things. He died July 11, 2011 in Crescent City.

Eldon Gunnerson

Dobbins, California

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