Former officer swims half a mile in floodwater to rescue mother during Hurricane Ian
“Once the water got high on the sliding glass doors and she reported that it was at her belly button, then I knew it was go time”
By Ashley Silver
CHICAGO — A former Chicago police officer was forced to experience the unthinkable during Hurricane Ian – the possibility of losing his mother to the violent storm. The former officer swam half a mile to prevent this from happening in Naples, Florida.
ABC 7 Chicago reported Johnny Lauder was staying at his son’s home last week when Hurricane Ian passed. The home is roughly half a mile from where his 84-year-old mother lives. After realizing the massive storm surge was overtaking his mother’s home, he immediately dived into action.
“I had my youngest son on the phone with grandma at all times,” he told ABC 7 Chicago. “And once the water got high on the sliding glass doors and she reported that it was at her belly button, then I knew it was go time.”
As he swam toward his mother’s home, Lauder was able to locate a kayak and knee board floating in the deep water. It took him 40 minutes to arrive at his mother’s home, where he discovered the water had risen to her chest.
“If I would’ve been 20 minutes later, this would be a totally different interview,” Lauder told the news platform.
After the water began to recede, Lauder was able to wheel his mother, who has an amputated leg, safely out of the floodwater.
Both Lauder and his mother’s homes were destroyed by the storm. His mother is hospitalized, but doing well.
“You feel grateful that we’re still here and that she’s able to be with us,” Lauder told ABC.