A father who died while trying to save his son from drowning, and a man who came to their aid at Fort Canby State Park in Ilwaco, Wash., were both recognized for their lifesaving efforts in a ceremony Sunday.
The U.S. Coast Guard presented the silver Lifesaving Medal to Alex Melnichenko's wife, Lidiya Melnichenko, for his efforts to save his 11-year-old son from drowning at Benson Beach Aug. 16, 2003. Melnichenko, 35, and his son Andrey, were wading knee-deep in the water when an 8-foot wave swept them both out to sea. The boy's father swam to his son and hurled him over a wave to an approaching swimmer, saving his life.
Paul Moore, a former Seattle police officer, was also awarded the Silver Lifesaving Medal for his actions that day. Moore, a bystander, heard cries for help and entered the frigid water to assist the boy and his father. He grabbed the boy and safely brought him back to the beach. When he turned back to assist the father, the man could not be located.
The ceremony also included the laying of a ceremonial wreath from a Coast Guard 47-foot motor lifeboat, stationed out of Station Cape Disappointment, at the location at which Alex Melnichenko was last seen.