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Life’s Infirmities Didn’t Slow Lifesaver Down

May 16, 1985

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) _ A retired police officer didn’t let recent heart bypass surgery or an artificial knee slow him down when he saw a child dive into a pool and not come back to the surface.

″I went like a streak of lightning,″ Wesley Hoober, 63, said. ″Hell, I had to if I wanted to do something for him.″

Hoober ran around a fence Wednesday, pulled 7-year-old Tony Middleton out of the pool and helped him start breathing again by forcing water out of his lungs.

Tony was held overnight for observation at Brookwood Community Hospital. He was released Thursday afternoon.

Hoober was sitting in the carport of his home Wednesday when Tony dived into the pool at the house next door. When the boy didn’t come up after nearly a minute, he picked up his cane and walked to the fence.

″I could see him sprawled out in the bottom of the pool,″ he said.

Hoober yelled at two other boys playing with Tony to pull him out. But they panicked and didn’t do anything immediately. Hoober was unable to pull himself over the fence between the two yards, so he had to rush about 50 yards around it.

He said he was prepared to yank off his leg brace and jump in the water. But 11-year-old Matthew Brown had pulled Tony to the surface by the time Hoober arrived. Tony had been underwater three minutes.

At 73 pounds, Tony weighs 53 pounds more than the maximum weight Hoober, who had heart bypass surgery in February, is supposed to lift. Hoober pulled the child out of the pool and helped him start breathing again.

It wasn’t the first time that Hoober rescued a child from the pool.

Seven years ago, when another family lived at the house, he was attending a party there and saw a child slip into the deep end. He dove in fully clothed and pulled the child out.

″When you’re trying to save someone’s life, you don’t think about yourself,″ Hoober said. ″Life’s just too precious a thing.″

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