Desmond Doss, a medic during World War II, fearlessly performed many rescue operations in the Pacific theater. His most amazing exploit involved the rescue of seventy-five soldiers, lowering them over a steep cliff to safety while enemy bullets flew around him, sometimes coming so close he could feel them streaking by.
President Truman decorated Desmond Doss with the Congressional Medal of Honor on the White House lawn for his unwavering valor in the face of extreme danger. But Doss would not have been around to rescue those
seventy-five soldiers had he not been rescued himself several years before the war.
Desmond and his young nephew Gary were playing on a beach along the Atlantic coast. Gary's new beach ball somehow got away from him and began drifting out to sea. Though not a very good swimmer, Desmond could
not refuse his little nephews appeal for him to go out and retrieve the ball. Desmond swam through the shallow water for a few hundred feet before he realized that the widening distance between himself and the ball was due to a strongly ebbing tide.
A feeling of desperation washed over him. He knew it would be impossible to swim against the tide back to shore. If only he could catch up with the ball, then he could hold on to it as a kind of life preserver, but
it was getting farther from him each moment. But Desmond was used to praying, so he offered up this simple plea: "Lord, help me!"
Desmond looked about. He could hardly be seen now from the receding shore, and the ball was now drifting from his sight. But then something else came into view - a small motorized fishing boat. The two men in the boat appeared to be pulling in fishing nets and preparing to go farther
out in the ocean. Desmond prayed that they would notice him. He called out but realized that the boats engine drowned out his voice.
Then the fishermen spotted the big beach ball coming their way. One of them bent over the side of the boat and retrieved the ball. Peering around, they also spotted Desmond and immediately came to his rescue. One of the men reached over the side of the boat and said, "Let me help you in."
Soon the boat drew close to shore. The other fisherman asked, "Can you make it from here?" The water was shallow, so, thanking the men, Desmond stepped out and waded ashore with his nephew's beach ball. On the beach
he turned to wave at his rescuers, but there were no men, no boat, not even the wake of the boats path through the sea.