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How About a Bit of Lifesaving Between Courses?

Autumn Sample, deputy finance director for the Democratic National Committee. (Courtesy of Autumn Sample)

Would you entrust your life to the Democratic Party?

No, wait! You might want to think again -- especially if Autumn Sample is involved.

Staffers at the Democratic National Committee are buzzing about the uncommon heroics of the young deputy finance director who saved a drowning man while in California last month on business.

Sample, 27, was in the Bay Area to organize fundraisers. On Easter, she dined with a colleague on the waterfront deck at Servino Ristorante in Tiburon, across the bay from San Francisco.

Screams came from the bay. They looked out and saw a man who had fallen off a small powerboat, trying desperately to keep his head above water, and a woman hanging off the boat trying to help him.

Sample, who was a competitive swimmer at Purdue, didn't hesitate. Stopping only to take off her BlackBerry, she jumped over the railing -- about a 15-foot drop -- and started swimming the 100 yards to the boat.

"I hadn't really put much thought into the situation," she told us in an e-mail. "It was freezing! And I was heavy from the jeans and sweater I was wearing."

The man, we're told, was big, drunk and a non-swimmer. A former lifeguard, Sample wrapped her arm around his chest and dragged him back to a pier about 30 yards away. She held him there until paramedics arrived to help her pull him out of the water. It was only after they pointed it out that Sample realized her feet were bleeding, cut up at some point in the adventure.

Tiburon Police Chief Mike Cronin sent a letter praising Sample to her boss, DNC Chairman and Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, and said he's looking into getting her a commendation from the city. "It was a crazy experience," Sample said, "but I'm glad that I was there and able to help."

By The Reliable Source  |  May 8, 2009; 1:02 AM ET
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Posted by: rorysteele | May 8, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse

That restaurant is overpriced. The food is mediocre. Ive jumped off that deck when i got the bill last month.

Posted by: pagalo | May 8, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

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