Afterhours swimmer learns lesson in Rehoboth
This past weekend may have been one of the most beautiful of a summer many say is the best in years. Still, beautiful weather and a strong breeze came with high surf; up and down Rehoboth Beach, vigilant guards kept swimmers close to shore.
As an exceptional weekend came to a close, the guards went home, but families lingered. A few swimmers ventured into the water; without guards whistling people in, one man quickly got in well over his head.
High surf crashed as a riptide sucked him away from his family, who yelled for him to come in; he yelled back something that sounded like “help.” Another of his group charged into the water but was instantly leveled by the waves.
Up the beach, others heard the shouts; two more men, dressed more for the Boardwalk than the beach, ran to the shoreline, and one ran straight into the water.
By this time Rehoboth Beach police, called by a bystander, were also on the way. With waves churning around them, the rescuer quickly reached the swimmer and was able to pull him toward shore.
The rescuer turned out to be former Rehoboth Beach Commissioner Paul Kuhns, not a small man by any account. The man he assisted was easily twice his size, but Kuhns did not waste a second wondering if he was up to a rescue. Before police could arrive, two slightly embarrassed swimmers and Kuhns stumbled out of the water.
It takes a skilled swimmer to rescue a large and panicky person from rough surf. It also takes an exceptional person to charge into stormy surf toward a total stranger.
What could have been a tragedy was averted by a single person’s unflinching willingness to help another.
Still, this heroism comes at least in part because Rehoboth is still a town where residents know the ocean and are willing to jump in to help.
Thank you, Paul Kuhns, for assisting a stranger in need and for reminding us that Rehoboth is a remarkable town because so many of the people who live here make it that way.