In 1956, he saved a baby that was drowning, 59 years later, an unimaginable secret comes out
Judy Hunt Charest every Christmas asked herself the same question: why during the holiday season her father always hugged her a little bit stronger than usual and why those hugs felt more tender and caring than any other day.
When Judy reached 21, her mother Marguerite Hung revealed a heartwarming family secret. She had never shared the story with Judy because she was ashamed of what happened two decades earlier, on Christmas Eve in 1956.
Marguerite showed signs of mental and bipolar disorders. Many claimed that it was "only" postpartum depression, but Marguerite really suffered. Judy said: “I was 3 months old and during those 3 months, my mother got very ill.
They were saying it was postpartum depression and that she needed to overcome it, so there was nothing to worry about. But on Christmas Eve, she disappeared with me. She approached a bridge and jumped to the river with me in arms”.
Click "Next page" to see the rest of this article!
At that moment, an employee of Bridge Company in Nashville, Harold Hogue, jumped to the freezing water to save Judy. Another worker, Jack Knox, jumped to help Marguerite. They said that she was in a psychosis, but the freezing water brought her back to reality. Suddenly, she started shouting “My baby! My baby!”, and it was that moment when Jack realized it was a baby.
Judy and Marguerite were taken out in a rowing boat. Both men tried to save Marguerite but Harold was the one that hoped for the baby to survive. He shaked Judy in his arms, allowing her to cough up water from her lungs.
“Mr Hogue rushed through the shore, shaking me all the time. I started to cough, breathe, and then cry. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t he who saved me. There was no water in my lungs and I didn’t have a single fracture. I was good. It was a miracle for both of us.”
After this accident, Marguerite was one of the first women diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Once treated, she led a happy and healthy life.
But mother hid the secret because she was ashamed about what happened with her baby and she decided to reveal the truth when Judy reached 21. Now, 59 years after the accident, Judy tells the story.
“I think that my mum eventually felt better with herself. I’ve always told her: “It was a miracle, look at us. It could have gone different but it didn’t.” I spoke with doctors, paramedics, firefighters and I asked them about the chances of survival of a 3-month-old baby that fell from a bridge to a freezing river. Every person repeated that there was no chance. Yet here I am.”
“Jack is a true hero”, says Hogue, “He deserves everything people say about him. Our lives carried on. We moved to Memphis. Jack died a couple of years ago. But we keep telling the story to our children. Especially during Christmas. I’ve never heard anything about the baby or the mother. I always think what could’ve happened to them”.
It turns out that Hogue didn’t know the whereabouts of the mother and baby for 60 years. After many years he got to finally know the names of the women he rescued. Judy was really willing to get to know the man that saved her life. When they finally met, it was a very emotional moment for all.
Hogue commented in brief, but humble words: “I did my little part. God works in strange ways”.
That’s how we end this tender story and we wish you the upcoming Christmas to be joyful. We wish you that the image of the important people that changed your lives be always vivid. Oh, yes! To end the story, we will tell you that Hogue received a gift from Charest not so long ago. It was a small pocket watch with an inscription dated 24.12.56 that said: “Every person needs a hero. Thank your for being mine”.
Don’t forget to share this article with your family and friends!