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Dad Dies Saving Sons From Rip Current

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

There were several stories this week about bystanders, Americans who saw someone in danger and looked away. But there's also Pete Rosengren. Mr. Rosengren, his wife, Maura, and their three sons drove from their home in Batavia, Ill., for a vacation in Florida. Pete and Maura we're about to celebrate their 18th anniversary. Miramar Beach was open but with red-flag warnings about dangerous surf. Their sons ran into the water - too quickly to stop them - to join a group of other youngsters, and the swimmers were soon in trouble.

Pete Rosengren, 42 years old and a newspaper sales executive, dove in to try to help. He was able to save a 9-year-old boy and hand him to other adults who ran into the surf. His sons scrambled out to safety. But then Pete found himself in trouble on the beach, and help was half a mile away in the nearest tower. Lifeguards arrived and performed CPR on Pete Rosengren, but he died - 42, the loving father of three sons, devoted husband of 18 years and a man who risked his life and gave his life for others. That was Pete, such a hero, his longtime friend Joe Shaker told the Daily Herald, where he worked. The world needs more Petes, putting others in front of themselves.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.