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Life saving, life changing: Milford students were Hampton beach heroes

MILFORD - Last year's senior skip day turned out to be more than a day at the beach for two Milford High School students when they rushed to the rescue of struggling swimmers at Hampton Beach.

Last May, Andrew Myers and Molly Mendola, along with a group of friends, took a day off from school to celebrate their impending graduation. They headed to Hampton Beach to soak up some sun, but when they heard people shouting that someone was drowning, Myers and Mendola ran to the rescue.

There were no lifeguards on duty when four people were pulled into a rip current, but luckily both Myers and Mendola were certified lifeguards trained by the American Red Cross at Hampshire Hills in Milford. The pair rushed into the water towards a man and a woman who were being carried out to sea by the undertow and helped them swim diagonally to the shore to evade the strong current.

Meanwhile, their classmate Tyler Keating, who isn't a trained lifeguard but grew up on the water, rushed to help another man find his way back to shore, while a fourth man made it out of the water on his own.

"They were panicked, exhausted, tired and cold," said Myers in the days after the rescue. "And they had swallowed a lot of water.

But they were OK."

Myers is currently finishing up his first year at New Hampshire Technical Institute where he's studying criminal justice. He said in an interview on Tuesday that his experience at Hampton Beach has changed how he views the world.

"It has had a positive impact on my life," he said. "I'm more aware of my surroundings and I don't shrug off the little things like I used to."

Myers said the incident showed him that life can change in an instant and anything can happen.

"I realized that any day can be your last day," he said.

The knowledge he's gained from a day at the beach is sure to serve him well as a police officer, a career he plans to pursue when he graduates from college.

Mendola is currently attending University of Maine at Orono. She could not be reached for comment.

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