NEW YORK - Capt. Gordon Loebl, commander, Coast Guard Sector New York, presented George Chait with the Silver Lifesaving Medal May 20, 2013, at Battery Park, N.Y.
Chait was awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for his heroic action while attempting to rescue a couple caught in a rip current in Savannah Bay, Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands, Jan. 6, 2012.
Chait observed two people struggling and waiving their arms frantically for help approximately 50 yards offshore. Chait ran to the water and started swimming toward the couple that was caught in a rip current. He instructed them to swim parallel to shore. Upon realizing they were physically exhausted and unable to swim, Chait swam toward the woman and brought her near shore where Chait's wife was waiting on shore to assist.
Although tired, Chait immediately turned around to swim toward the man. With the assistance of his family directing him, he was able to reach the man who was face down and unconscious. Chait held the victim about the chest and attempted to keep the victim’s head above water as he swam toward the beach. Chait was met by rescue personnel who immediately began performing CPR. Unfortunately, they were unable to revive him.
“Chait’s determined acts, outstanding initiative, and fortitude resulted in the saving of one life, given that without his aid, both people would have surely perished. His unselfish actions and valiant service reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of humanitarian service,” said Coast Guard Commandant Adm. Bob Papp.
The Silver Lifesaving Medal was created by congress in 1874 and is awarded to people who endanger their own lives while saving or attempting to save another from drowning, a shipwreck or other perils of the water. The Coast Guard is the ultimate award authority for the Silver Lifesaving Medal and can award the decorations to members of all military branches as well as civilians.