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MAYOR HONORS 2 FOR 'COURAGE AND BRAVERY' IN RIVER RESCUES

Mayor Masiello honored two city residents, including the wife of Common Council President James W. Pitts, today for jumping into the Niagara River off Broderick Park to rescue people in distress in separate incidents earlier this summer.

Masiello praised Mary Weatherston Pitts and Adam Keller for their "courage and bravery."

Mrs. Pitts rescued a 12-year-old boy during a June 19 swimming accident. Keller saved a fisherman in a near-drowning on July 2.

Attending the award ceremony in the mayor's office were Pitts and other family members of the two honorees, along with officials from the Clarkson Center, where Keller is employed.

Both rescuers were cited for risking their lives and "giving of themselves . . . in a world where too few people think of others."

On June 19, Mrs. Pitts was fishing with her sons, Justin and Jordan, in the Black Rock Channel at Broderick Park, when a 12-year-old boy lost consciousness while swimming nearby. She jumped about 10 feet down into the channel and pulled the boy to safety, officials said.

"I was trying to remember all those life-saving skills I learned years ago," said Mrs. Pitts, a former lifeguard, describing the incident. "It was shocking how cold the water was."

Her husband, who was acting mayor for a few days this week, is challenging fellow Democrat Masiello in the fall race for mayor, but politics was put aside today.

Keller, 22, a student at the University of Dayton, was working at his summer job at the park concession stand on July 2 when he heard shouts that a fisherman had fallen into the Niagara River nearby.

When he got to the wall, Keller said the fisherman was already sinking below the surface.

"I dove in and tried to get him to the wall, but the current was too strong, and an eddy carried us out . . . and then finally back in," Keller said.

Asked what he was thinking when he jumped into the river, Keller quickly responded:

"To get out as soon as possible."

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