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Bus full of Marines saves woman whose car stalled in floodwaters

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 12:00 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (WUSA) - A woman in Washington, DC, was struggling in floodwaters when a bus full of U.S. Marines showed up and pushed her stalled car to drier ground.

Virginia Waller-Torres said a prayer for help Thursday when her car stalled in deepening flash floodwaters outside Arlington National Cemetery. The Marines showed up just 45 seconds later.

“We figured it would be a good idea to just lend a helping hand and help out our fellow American,” Cpl. Jared Tosner said.

Waller-Torres hit record on her phone as Tosner and five of his fellow Marines marched through the knee-deep water. They were all in dress uniforms, all Marine Corps Body Bearers, an elite unit which performs funeral services within Arlington’s hallowed grounds.

The group pushed Waller-Torres and her stalled Mini Cooper out of the water to drier ground.

“It’s just about doing the right thing when no one’s looking,” Tosner said. “And if people just reciprocate that and do good unto others, I think our country’s headed in a good direction.”

Waller-Torres reunited with Tosner and another of her rescuers, Cpl. Mitchell Wojtowicz, at the Marine Corps barracks Monday. They presented her with a gold challenge coin and declared she was a part of their unit.

What the Marines didn’t realize during the rescue is that Waller-Torres’ grandfather is a World War II veteran buried in Arlington. Her father is a Navy veteran from the Gulf War, and she was born in the Panama Canal Zone.

Her father was overcome by the rescue.

“He called me back, and he started crying because it was so emotional for him,” Waller-Torres said.

The rescue was emotional for Waller-Torres as well. She thanked the Marines with tears in her eyes.

“It was something so different. It was something that I can’t explain in words. I am so grateful. Thank you,” she said.

Waller-Torres posted video of the rescue to Tiktok, where it has received more than 915,000 likes.

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