Woman, youth finally honored for rescuing two boys They saved one child from drowning in creek

September 29, 1995|By Josh Greenberg | Josh Greenberg,CONTRIBUTING WRITER

Until yesterday, Marsha Lieberman and her nephew, Robert Hartlove, were unheralded heroes.

They saved a boy from drowning in February on icy Hopkins Creek, but Mrs. Lieberman said, "I just didn't want to tell anyone about it," and Robert had yet to share the tale with fellow students at Sparrows Point Middle School. They also saved the boys friend.

But Mrs. Lieberman's husband, David, a merchant marine officer, shared the story with friends in the Coast Guard. And yesterday, Mrs. Lieberman and Robert received overdue honors for the deed in a ceremony at the Coast Guard's Hawkins Point yard.

The Liebermans of Essex are year-round boaters, own a small library on Coast Guard rescue boats and on their last vacation visited 15 Coast Guard stations in the Northwest. They own weatherproof immersion suits for swimming even in the winter, and had plenty of training in water rescues.

That proved fortunate for the unidentified 11-year-olds who had wandered out on the ice Feb. 19.

Mrs. Lieberman heard their cries for help and called Baltimore County's 911 emergency line. "There's a kid through the ice!" she screamed. "There's a kid through the ice!"

But she and her nephew, now 13, did not wait for help to arrive.

They donned the orange immersion suits, crawled across a few hundred feet of thin ice and jumped through a hole into the 33-degree water, where one of the boys was floundering.

"I could hear the sirens blowing from the fire engines on their way," Mrs. Lieberman said.

"Aunt Marsha and I just got in the water and pushed up on the boy," Robert said, "one, two, three, push. One, two, three, push."

The other boy was standing farther out on the ice sheet, and Mrs. Lieberman coaxed him to crawl to her and helped him to the shore.

"The only reason those boys are alive is because my husband owns survival suits and has trained us to use them," Mrs. Lieberman said before she and Robert received the awards for meritorious public service.

They were congratulated by a handful of family members and

saluted by 75 Coast Guard officers.

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