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Let’s breathe: A collective, effective response

A kiter goes face-down into the water and prays that someone will come to his aid.

Someone does, and the man lives to tell the tale and to thank his new friends.

This happens at the same time as we hear the call, heard at City Council, to “catch our breaths” over the Bob Francis resignation.

We’ll mute any comment, for now, on the political situation at City Hall, and offer up the connection between accusations of hyperventilating in council chambers and the rescue of a man who truly could not breathe.

People came to his aid. The full story, by Adam Lapierre, is on page A7.

Tom Dawson willingly spoke of his ordeal, posed for a photo, and expressed gratitude for those who saved him.

In most cases like this, the save is made and the victim is either checked on the scene by medical personnel or transported to the hospital, and normally it does not make the news. In some cases the victims and rescuers are shy about publicity, for understandable reasons, and nothing is made of it.

In this case, Tom Dawson and Justin Wiley agreed to talk, and that is healthy for all of us; to acknowledge events that are part of local life, as well as what goes into turning a potential tragedy into a happy ending.

Things like communication and compassion.

It is often the case that people are injured at the beach, and fellow wind sports folk are among the first to help. Tom Dawson’s rescuers are one more example in a long line of incidents that any river or lake town can pride itself in; hikers, riders, swimmers, surfers, kiters setting aside whatever they are doing, sometimes putting their own lives in peril.

Much of that impetus surely comes from shared experience, an innate “that could be me” response urge. The instinctive we’re-in-this-together sensibility leads to effective action.

Tom Dawson took a deep breath, fortunately, and so can we all, while also realizing that a collective, compassionate response is often needed when we hear a call for rescue.

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