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Rowing coach, students in right place for rescue

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Jesse Reitberger

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Jesse Reitberger

Investment adviser Jesse Reitberger has always been known for helping people save money. Now he's known for saving a life.

Reitberger was honoured with a Rescue Commendation Award at a ceremony Thursday by the Lifesaving Society of Canada -- Manitoba branch. The award honours those who act with bravery in water-related incidents.

Reitberger, a coach with the Winnipeg Rowing club, saved a teenage girl who jumped off the Norwood Bridge into the Red River on Nov. 1.

Two of his students were rowing under the bridge and saw the teen plunge into the freezing river. Reitberger was about 500 metres away and piloted his motorboat to the girl in the river. Two of his rowing students, Tracy Taylor and Fiona Rettie, helped him save the girl and were also honoured for their heroism Thursday.

"It took us a couple of tries because she was waterlogged, and plus she couldn't really move because she was hypothermic," Reitberger said. "When I got her in the boat, she was passing in and out of consciousness. I kept giving her a whack every now and then to make sure she didn't fall asleep."

Reitenberger was one of 31 Manitobans honoured Thursday night with various awards by the Lifesaving Society.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 7, 2014 A2

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