In 1976, Shavarsh Karapetyan, an Armenian Olympic swimmer, had just completed a 12-mile run with his brother when they saw a trolley bus crash into a dam reservoir. The trolley bus sank 80 feet offshore at a depth of 33 feet. Shavarsh immediately dove in and swam to the bus and despite zero visibility, managed to kick in the back window, injuring himself in the process. He proceeded to save twenty people trapped in the bus, one at a time, for hours.
The combined effect of the cold water and his inquiries from breaking the glass window led to his hospitalization for 45 days after the incident, during which time he developed pneumonia, sepsis, and lung damage which ended his athletic career.
For years, his story wasn’t known, until an article about the event identified him by name in 1982. In 1985, he happened to pass by a burning building and rushed inside, again saving people trapped inside one at a time until he collapsed. He was again hospitalized with severe burns and lung damage.
He’s still kicking it at 67 (as of 2021).
REFELECTION QUESTION: Can you think of someone in your life that has inspired you because of his/her sacrifices or demonstrations of compassion?