I was swimming with three sisters and one of their boyfriends when the water level went up sharply. We were in the vicinity of ship traffic in the river. Boat waves and suction/release of water from their engines caused sharp increases in the water level. While I was not able to swim, I did not feel it was necessary until the sharp change in the water level. One of my older sisters died from drowning. I seem to remember going to the surface on two occasions. While beneath the water for the third time, I began to relax. I recall a feeling of peacefulness coming over me. Toward the end of my decline in the water, I saw a lighted tunnel. Many times I have tried to recall who I saw in this tunnel but I could not remember a soul. It was unlikely I knew them at all, given my age at the time. These individuals were welcoming me into the tunnel. They were quite pleasant male and female adults.
I specifically remember making a decision that it was not my time to pass. I recall pushing off from the river bottom and reaching the water surface with my sister's boyfriend there to catch me.
My mother and father had a struggling relationship before this time. They separated following the death of my sister. There were 10 children in our family.
My life has been influenced by the near-death experience. By nature, I am a very calm and relaxed person. Under stress, I have learned to be very insightful and determined. I first realized this during high school athletics. I graduated from the United States Military Academy, spent five years in the Army, and have been in the rocket propulsion business ever since.
I have found much peace and satisfaction through helping others. I really enjoy the Rotary International Club that I joined around eight years ago. My wife and I have two sons, one of whom is presently beginning his second year at Temple Medical School.
Light and Tunnel Beneath the Water