VALPARAISO — In the United States Navy, sailors train so that they can be ready when their nation calls on them. For one local Indiana Navy Recruiter, the call to action came closer to home than usual.
On July 25, Culinary Specialist (Submarine) 1st Class Bobby Weaver was on his way to work at the Valparaiso Navy Recruiting Station when the car in front of him lost control, striking the back of a stationary emergency vehicle and careening off the road into a deep ditch.
“I couldn’t see the car, but I saw a splash come up, so I knew I needed to get down there,” Weaver said. “I went running down to the ditch. By the time I got down to the car, the driver was climbing out of the passenger side window.”
As the car continued to fill with water, Alyssa Jankowski (the driver) of Wanatah, let Weaver know that her 5-year-old and 2-year-old sons were still in the car. Quickly Weaver jumped into action.
“It caught me off guard how deep it was,” Weaver said. “I helped her get the 2-year-old on top of the car, and then I grabbed the 5-year-old. I held on to both of them and then told her to hold on to me, while we swam out.”
After rescuing the children, Weaver placed Jankowski and her sons in his truck to wait for emergency personnel.
“I was just thinking that she and the boys were probably in shock,” Weaver said. “I was trying to keep an eye on them and make sure that they were ok.”
Despite what had just occurred, Weaver’s next thought was to get to work.
“I was sopping wet, and had mud and leaves all over me,” Weaver said. “I called my LPO (leading petty officer) and told him what happened. Then I went home, took a shower and put on some PT (physical training) gear, and went to work.
Soon after, the Navy Talent Acquisition Group (NTAG) Great Lakes headquarters about what Weaver had done.
“CSS1 Weaver, in no uncertain terms, is a hero,” NTAG Great Lakes Commanding Officer, Cmdr. Matthew Sass said. “He acted when action was necessary. We are often judged by how we react in a crisis. CSS1 scored a perfect 10.”
Jankowski was relieved when she saw someone coming to help. Despite the chaos of the situation, she couldn’t help but notice that the person wading into the water was wearing a camouflage uniform.
“It helped me a lot to know that he was in the military,” Jankowski said. “I’m really thankful that he was there immediately to help me, and my kids get out of the car safely. He didn’t leave until he knew we were going to be ok. He even called to make sure me and my kids were alright the next days.”
Weaver gives credit to the Navy and all his training as a Sailor when asked about his actions. “Being in the Navy trained me to keep my composure, assess the situation, and do what I thought was necessary to help,” he said.