Alyssa DeWitt never planned on being a superhero, but on a day at the beach back on May 25th, she was called to perform an extraordinary act of bravery. DeWitt, who was five months pregnant and already a mother to three, decided to take her children (ages six, three, and two) to the First Street Beach Pier on Lake Michigan.
The winds were strong that day, and DeWitt debated whether to even go. When they arrived, DeWitt brought her family to the right side of the beach where the pier is located, and this contrasted with their usual excursions to the left side of the beach. In retrospect, DeWitt feels like she was supposed to be at that specific part of the beach on that day.
Unbeknown to DeWitt, she had made a life-saving decision… but not for her or her family.
Shortly after arriving at the beach, DeWitt noticed a group of four young girls swimming farther out from shore than they should have been and became concerned for their safety. The high winds had created some dangerous waves and currents.
Her concerns were soon confirmed when she saw one of the girls waving her arms at DeWitt in distress. DeWitt knew the girls were in serious trouble, and being the only person around this section of the beach, she jumped into action without hesitation.
She quickly led her children onto a safe part of the beach and began dialing 9-1-1. The winds made communication very difficult on the phone, and DeWitt had little time to spare for any lengthy explanation to the dispatcher. She hustled onto the pier, placed the phone beside her on the ground, and laid down flat on her stomach to retrieve the girls.
DeWitt struggled mightily as she attempted her rescue. As she would lift one of the girls halfway up, a wave would come crashing into her and the girls and simultaneously dislodge them from her grasp and almost pull DeWitt into the water.
DeWitt remembers an especially harrowing moment during the rescue that she will never forget.
One of the girls looked at her and said, “I am going to die.” This provided DeWitt the necessary adrenaline to complete her rescue, and she assured the young girl, “I’m not going to let you die. I’m going to get you out of this water, I promise.”
DeWitt made good on her promise and eventually hoisted 3 of the girls to safety on the pier. The fourth girl was able to make her way to shore where DeWitt helped her out of the water. All four girls were safe and secure with minor scrapes and bruises.
Reflecting on the entirety of the ordeal, DeWitt understands how differently the outcome could have been for the rescued girls and her family.
Sharing this same sentiment, Manistee City Police Chief John Glass wrote, “Without the actions of this heroic young lady, this could have easily turned out differently.”
During the height of the rescue, DeWitt was tremendously proud of her six-year-old who was managing the safety of her two younger siblings. Her youngest kept attempting to walk out to her on the pier, but her oldest daughter consistently retrieved him and brought him back to safety.
Medical crews arrived shortly after the rescue was completed and treated DeWitt and the four young girls for minor injuries. DeWitt and her unborn child, along with the four young girls, were all cleared.
DeWitt firmly believes, “God did His thing today, and He put me exactly where I needed to be, once again… I’m loving my babies a little harder tonight; I’m sure those parents are too. God is good.”
Alyssa DeWitt definitely earned her supermom cape after this day at the beach.