A Quiet Hero

The water alone sends a chill into the marrow of your bones. That was the day Floyd saved someone’s life but, could have easily lost his own. He, his sister, brother and the sister’s boyfriend relaxed, laughed, munched snacks, splashed, and drifted down the river in tubes as they floated the icy Ichetuknee in July of 1984. Floyd was twenty-two. About thirty minutes into the float-down party, the boyfriend called out, “I’m going down for a cool off.” He promptly dove to the sandy bottom. Floyd had already floated past when he spinned about and looked down and what he saw sent him into an immediate, adrenalin surge to see that the swimmer was displaying an odd, alarming behavior, stuck on the bottom with his face and hands upturned hoping against hope that some one would see him. Both of his legs locked in cramps. He had plunged fifteen feet down and was glued to the bottom, couldn’t move, already drowning. Floyd, a life guard by training, quickly swam upstream to the spot where the desperate swimmer in terror was pinned to the bottom, gulped in the biggest two lungs full of air of his young life, and dove. He quickly swam to the horrified man, grabbed his hand, and then shifted him into a chest carry and fought for about thirty seconds to bring the struggling man to the surface. Floyd’s lungs were burning like fire as he pulled and pulled and kicked and kicked his way upward to the light. Finally, at the end of his breath they breached the surface: the boyfriend, gurgling, spitting, groaning, and coughing. Dead spent, Floyd next pulled him to the shore and began resuscitation. The boyfriend lived, and became a leader in the health community of Gainesville.
And since 1984, every time he sees Floyd, which is about every two years or so, he thanks him for giving him a chance to live, remembering that when they both came close to death that summer day of their youth.
Floyd, one of the best maintenance men at Signature in Gainesville and Hall of Famer, says, “Since that day I have always felt blessed by God for what happened that day, that he allowed me to be in that river when I was most needed….that day I saved my sister’s boyfriend’s life.”
Floyd Douglass, hero, humble man, a great friend, a Signature employee.