A Heroic Story From the Past
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John Bloch, owner of Bloch Marine, has a right to be proud of his dad. Below is a story of the heroic actions of Al Bloch, Jr. which resulted in the saving of 4 lives. The story is from a 1946 edition of "The St. Louis Times."

4 Saved From Drowning When Motorboat Upsets

Rescued three persons from drowning in the Mississippi River and aided in the saving of a fourth.
Two of the rescued are: Mrs. Ann Gregg and John Durawski.

Quick thinking and daring on the part of a former Coast Guardsman and two friends Sunday evening saved from probably drowning a Richmond Heights fireman and three women companions who were thrown into the swirling Mississippi River when their rented motorboat was overturned in Dardenne Slough several miles above the Illinois River.

John Durawski, Richmond Heights fireman of 7709A Arthur Ave.; Miss Carmen Longo 1816A Leffingwell Ave., and Miss Joan Barthell, 1905A Detrigban, were in the water for 30 minutes before their shouts for help were heard.

Al Bloch Jr, 3931 Dover Pl., former Coast Guardsman and Lloyd McGowan, 3955 Wilmington Ave., and Kermit Devine, 3846 Botanical Ave., saw Durawski and the three women struggling in the water and went to their rescue in a small craft owned by Bloch.

It took the rescuers 15 minutes to get the three women aboard, since the craft is small and had to be handled with great care. Durawski was taken from the water by a man in another boat whose name was not obtained.

Durawski, an experienced boatman, said he and the three women had rented the craft, an outboard motorboat, at the South Shore Boat Harbor Lodge near St. Charles and were in the Dardenne Slough when caught in the backwash of a large river cruiser and overturned. Durawski said he saw the cruiser and was attempting to get close inshore but his craft was capsized before he could reach safety.

He and the women donned lifebelts but had no time to fasten them before the boat went over. Durawski was finally able to steady the craft so the women were able to cling to it as it started to drift toward the middle of the river. They waved and shouted for more than 30 minutes before being seen by Bloch, Durawski said.

One of the women was hysterical when rescued and all were exhausted from the long exposure, making it doubly difficult for the rescuers when they attempted to get the victims aboard Bloch's small craft.

Bloch had just purchased his boat and was making his first trip in it. His verdict of the 20 foot craft after the rescue was: "It's a darn good boat."