Rescue

DC Priests, Seminarians on Floating Tiki Bar Save Man From Drowning

"It was a movement from the Holy Spirit"

NBC Universal, Inc.

Jimmy McDonald was out on a rented kayak on Lake George in upstate New York when he took a spill.

"My pride and my ego told me, 'I'll figure this out,'" he said.

But the fall loosened McDonald's life jacket up to his ears and his thoughts quickly turned dark.

"I think I might die today. I think this might be it," he said to himself.

Then, the salvation McDonald prayed for came in the form of a floating tiki bar carrying seminarians and priests from St. Joseph's Seminary in Northeast D.C. They were on a break from a religious retreat.

Noah Ismael, a second-year seminarian, said, "His kayak was overturned and we said, 'Hey, do you need help?'"

The seminarians had been in the area because a coronavirus outbreak had hit their seminary. Ismael said a man had drowned in those same waters a week before and that was weighing on their minds when they came across McDonald, who was begging for help.

"It was a movement of the Holy Spirit, that’s what I’ll say," Ismael said.

McDonald, who is a substance abuse counselor and a recovered substance abuser, said he found the rescue ironic.

"I've been sober for seven years, and I get saved by a tiki bar," he said.

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