Westchester resident Hank Joselson just wanted to spend a relaxing Sunday at a beautiful beach when he headed to Long Beach Island on the Jersey Shore.
"It's so beautiful there and I was ready to relax and have a nice day," said Joselson, who lives in Mamaroneck.
Little did the longtime financier and lawyer know that he would end up saving the life of a man he didn't know in 10-foot-high seas who had been caught in a rip current.
Joselson, who trained as a lifeguard in college and also trained other lifeguards, knew the man was in trouble when his son Brandon pointed out the struggling man at least 300 meters out to sea.
"I knew he would not survive if someone didn't do something," he said. "I couldn't stand by and let another person die without trying to help them."
That's when Joselson grabbed a beach towel and began the long swim out to the man. On his way, one of two surfers, who were also having trouble, shot him one of their surfboards to help bring the man in.
"He was really panicked and struggling when I reached him, Joselson said. "I had him grab the board and began the long swim in the huge waves back to shore."
Along the way, Joselson said he kept reassuring the man he would survive and that he was going to be OK.
"I didn't want him to panic and then grab onto me and drag me under," he said.
After a long swim, Joselson finally managed to get the man back to shore, where police officers were waiting to offer help and before long, EMS arrived on scene.
"The man's wife just hugged me and was very grateful," he said. "I swallowed a lot of seawater, but I made it back OK."
The best part of the whole experience for Joselson, who said he just kind of faded into the background and went back to his day at the beach -- was helping someone else.
"In today's world we really need to help each other and be kind to each other," he said. "I wasn't going to let someone die if I could help it."
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