Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Matt Taylor, GCHS Cross Country Hero

Rodger and Matt Taylor"A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer." Ralph Waldo Emerson ..

Besides being braver five minutes longer, a hero has to be in the right place at the right time.
Captain Rodger Taylor and his son Matt were both in September 2008. Matt an All Parochial and Tri-County First Team All Conference cross-country runner at Gloucester Catholic High School class of 2007, now attends LaSalle University and continues to run at a high level. Here is an account of their brave Delaware River rescue from the September 2008 SeaFarers International Union:
Freedom Ferry Crew to the Rescue September 2008

As Captain Rodger Taylor guided the Freedom Ferry away from Penn’s Landing for the next part of its regular run between Philadelphia and Camden, N.J., he noticed something in the water which obviously didn’t belong there.

Specifically, he saw a woman in distress in the Delaware River.

Within minutes, Taylor and Deckhands Matthew Taylor

(Rodger’s son), Zachary Tannoia and Kevin Fisher had teamed up to safely pull the woman from the water, administer first aid and get her to shore. Local fire and rescue personnel arrived a short time later and transported the unidentified person to Thomas Jefferson Hospital, located about five blocks away.

Capt. Taylor said the Seafarers didn’t learn the woman’s name, but did receive word that she was in stable condition at the hospital. It wasn’t known whether she had jumped or fallen into the river.

A 1979 graduate of the Paul Hall Center trainee program, Capt. Taylor praised his crew members for the rescue, which began shortly after 1 p.m. on August 5. He also credited the mariners and the ferry operator, Hornblower Marine, for their serious approach to the weekly safety drills conducted aboard the Freedom Ferry – exercises which undoubtedly helped save the woman’s life.

Gloucester Catholic Cross Country Captain and All Parochial Runner Matt Taylor

“The drills really helped out,” he said. “This operation really felt like our basic rescue drill, except it was an actual rescue. The crew members did exactly what they were supposed to do. I was really impressed with them and I’m really proud of all three of them.”

Capt. Taylor said that when he first maneuvered the ferry into rescue position, one of the deckhands threw a life ring into the water, but the woman didn’t respond. Matthew Taylor then jumped into the river to save her, just as she appeared to be going under the water. A rescue ladder, davit and sling also were deployed from the ferry.

Rodger Taylor said the victim, upon being brought aboard the boat, “was conscious but very pale. She was white as a ghost, actually, and may have been going into shock. She was moaning but didn’t talk. The guys performed first aid and, luckily, we saw a policeman walking along Penn’s Landing” (which hastened the arrival of shore-side rescue personnel).

Only 15 minutes elapsed from the moment Capt. Taylor first saw the woman to the time the fire and rescue crew transported her to the hospital.

He concluded, “I just can’t say enough about how the guys handled this situation. They were totally professional and really got the job done. It was a unique situation because my son was involved, but again, I commend all three of the guys. They all deserve recognition.”

The ferry is part of the RiverLink system overseen by the Delaware River Port Authority.

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