A heroic father-of-three who survived the September 11 terrorist attacks has drowned while trying to save a group of children from an accident on Lake Michigan.
Luke Laidley, originally from Chicago, was boating near Centennial Park Beach on Tuesday when a tube he was pulling flipped over throwing several children into the water.
Some of the children began struggling in the lake and so, without a second thought, Laidley, 43, jumped in to rescue them.
The fathee-of-three helped to pull the children to safety but later got into difficulties himself.
Rescuers managed to get Laidley to land but attempts to revive him failed and he died after being rushed to hospital.
Laidley’s family revealed that the 43-year-old was a 9/11 survivor who had counted his blessings every day after the attacks.
On September 11 2001, it was the then-21-year-old’s second day on his first job out of college – working at Morgan Stanley on the 61st floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower 2 – when the planes hit the towers.
He made it out alive and later wrote: “I encourage all of us to count our blessings each and every day. Give of yourself and expect nothing in return. And become part of something that is greater than yourself.”
Following his death 22 years later, his family described him as a “hero” and a “true family man” who adored his wife, children, nieces and nephews and had a smile that “lit up the room”.
“He exuded positivity and perseverance with everything he did. He loved deeply and truly with all his heart,” his family wrote in the statement.
“His philosophy was to ‘Give of yourself and expect nothing in return. And become part of something that is greater than yourself.’”
The statement added: “He became part of something bigger, as his death will serve a greater purpose as an organ donor. A life lived with purpose. A life lived to serve for others. A life lived as a hero.”
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