Ocean City Life Saving Station Museum
A Touching Story of Heroism
by Beach Patrol Captain Bob Craig
2006


Bob Craig of the Ocean City Beach Patrol with his wife Virginia L Mason Craig


Many things happened during my 51 years of service with the Ocean City Beach Patrol (41 as Captain) but none touched me as much as this incident. I don't remember the exact date but it was early in my Captaincy that I hired an outstanding athlete named Charlie McCullough and assigned him to the 8th Street beach.

One day, Big Charlie (aptly named because of his 6-foot 8-inch 270 pound stature) was summoned to Ninth Street to assist in a developing problem there and was returning to his life-guard stand at 8th street when, looking ahead, he saw a toddler about 3 or 4 years old get up and walk toward the water's edge. When the water swirled around her feet she lost her balance and fell. The backwash from the wave swept her into deeper water and Charlie took off running! When he got to her the water was well over her head but only waist deep on Charlie. Water had cut off her breathing and she was unconscious so he immediately started artificial resuscitation as soon as they reached shore.

By this time someone had found a phone on the boardwalk probably at the Lankford Hotel. (This was long before cell-phones) and had called the Coast Guard Station which, in those days, is what everybody did in case of an emergency. I was in the Chief's office when the call came through so I immediately ran out to my bike on the boardwalk and headed for 8th Street. Before the city limits were extended beyond the North-end of the boardwalk the Beach Patrol Captain supervised by riding a bicycle on the boardwalk.

I made my way through the crowd that had gathered and asked how long the resuscitation had been in progress and the general consensus was a minimum of 15 minutes. Thinking that perhaps Big Charlie was getting tired; I offered to take over but he waved me off and continued with his steady, rhythmic procedure. One minute went by, then two. Suddenly, the little girl coughed, spit up a lot of water and began to cry. And so did Charlie!