The Nez Perce Tribe is mourning the loss of Elmer Crow, Jr., 69, who drowned while saving his 7-year-old grandson the evening of July 26.

 "I am still in such shock and grief, but am so proud of my father's final act of heroism that I just have to share it with the world," wrote son Jeremy Crow on the Elmer Crow Memorial Facebook page. "….His final act of lifting my nephew above the water for those last few moments was what saved his grandson's life but cost him his own."

On the fateful night, two cousins, Crow's grandsons, were swimming in the Buffalo Eddy of the Snake River—an eddy or reverse current, created when the water flows past the river's sharp bends. Buffalo Eddy in the Nez Perce National Historic Park is notable for the densely grouped clusters of petroglyphs and pictographs on the stone sides.

According to witnesses, the children were playing in the popular swimming area when they were sucked underwater by the wake of a jet boat. That's when Crow jumped in, the Lewiston Tribune reports. The older child managed to swim to shore, and Crow rescued the younger one.

"My dad, submerged by this time, managed to get his grandson's feet on his shoulders and stabilize him by reaching up to hold his waist," wrote Jeremy Crow on the Facebook memorial page. "Just as his grandson started dipping below the surface, a boat reached them and pulled him in, but by that time, my dad had already perished in the river."

The rescue team reportedly returned to retrieve Crow but "efforts to revive him were unsuccessful," the Tribune reports.

A memorial service followed by a Nez Perce drum ceremony is scheduled for Thursday, August 1 at 5 p.m. PDT in Lapwai, Idaho. The funeral service will start on August 2 at 9 a.m. at the Pi-Nee-Waus in Lapwai, followed by burial at the Jonah Hayes Cemetery in Sweetwater.

Elmer Crow Nez Perce Tribe from Voices for America's Wildlife on Vimeo.

Responses to " Hero For People: Nez Perce Elder Drowns After Rescuing 7-Year-Old Grandson"

  1. An outstanding Human Being. A man like this can move mountains. I hope he will be right back. His spirit uplifts us all.

  2. Unknown says:

    May his memory be a blessing and his words repeated for generations to come.

  3. Fisherted says:

    A grandparent has a special view of his/her family. . they can see the continuation of their lineage. And the care and well-being is always on the heart of grandparents, even to the beginning of forever. His relations and friends will joyously welcome him home. Those left behind must realize that this sacrifice was fated to happen. . no guilt should be had, just memories of that depth of love that he had.

  4. Thank you for sharing this experience that is filled with so much Wisdom, Love and Caring. What a wonderful BEing your grand/father is. <3

  5. Unknown says:

    Rest in Peace,Elmer Crow...You're an inspiration to so many of us--such a great parting act in love and dedication...God bless you forever brother. XX

  6. Anonymous says:

    Thank you, Mr. Elmer Crow, for being an example a true elder, until your last breath. We all die sometime, and dying for the cause of Love is a noble path.

  7. Anonymous says:

    So very sorry for your loss. Here is a beautiful prayer I came upon...

    "Native American Prayer"

    I give you this one thought to keep -
    I am with you still - I do not sleep.
    I am a thousand winds that blow,
    I am the diamond glints on snow,
    I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
    I am the gentle autumn rain.
    When you awaken in the morning's hush,
    I am the sweet uplifting rush,
    of quiet birds in circled flight.
    I am the soft starts that shine at night.
    Do not think of me as gone -
    I am with you still in each new dawn.

    Author: Native American Prayer

  8. Unknown says:

    I am only capable of echoing the sentiments above. Heroic for sure. Dedication in the ultimate act of love for his family. Peace to the whole family.

  9. Unknown says:

    Grandfather Hero - Spirit full of unconditional Love ~ No adjective as perfect to fit the situation. May those little ones grow to honor such a man and his family. So happy to hear of this story. Please let it become a worldwide tale of true heroism able set an example in a world of selfishness!

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