Terri King Speaks

Can You Swim?

by on Mar.22, 2011, under The Making of a Warrior Princess

Betty Kindley and me

For most of her life, Betty Rhodes Kindley has enjoyed one of life’s greatest gifts, that of a friend.  Only for Betty it was times 6.  Seven girls, the best of friends since childhood, have celebrated birthdays, weddings, divorces, children, and vacations complete with humorous newsletters to cap the events.

On a Sunday in 2006 Betty’s life was changed forever.  The girls had gathered at Sullivan’s Island, SC for a fun day of hunting sea shells when tragedy swept Betty and Judy, one of the 7,  out to sea in what’s called a “rip current”.

In a moment, Betty found herself more than 200 yds off shore, in water well over her head, rough waves, no land in sight, and fighting to keep Judy, who couldn’t swim, above the water.  “The waves kept crashing on us and breaking us apart.  I would swim down and grab Judy and bring her back up,” she said. Betty held on to her friend and hope that help would come.

Many attempts had been made from shore to get out to Betty and Judy, but only 2 women had managed to punch through the rough waves.  An off duty lifeguard named Kenzie and a breast cancer survivor named Kary.

Betty had been treading water for more than 30 minutes.  She had gone from talking to Judy and trying to keep her calm to silence and trying to deal with the reality that Judy had taken in too much water and was in trouble.  Betty refused to let go. “I knew she was gone, but I kept thinking if someone would come soon maybe they could resuscitate her.” 

Her rescuers helped her accept that she would have to leave Judy’s body behind and swim in without her.  Kenzie told her, “if we’re gonna make it, you’ll have to leave her here.”  Betty had done all she could, so, flanked on both sides by women who had risked their lives believing they could make a difference, Betty swam back to shore.

Can you imagine the emotional trauma?

 After being swept out by tragedy, kept afloat by hope, and carried in by faith, Betty has come to believe that everything happens for a reason and is part of God’s plan even when we don’t understand it, that life is too short to squander, and everybody should LEARN TO SWIM!

 The commitment of friends and the courage of strangers; these are the makings of warrior princesses.

Terri King

6 Comments for this entry

  • Debbie Fowler

    What a great story of will and faith , I am Betty’s cousin and I didn’t know she had been through this. I feel the same Betty all thing do happen for a reason it is want we do with what is left over that counts.

  • Bet

    Terri, I love you for doing this post. You have helped me pass such a huge milestone, and that is being able to even talk about what happened. You have such talent and I look forward to your future. All I know is that from what I have experienced, I have come to love more, forgive more, take more chances, ignore what others think, and let God be in control. I am taking a deep breath. Closing my eyes. Giving it up. Thanks. Bet

  • Nichole Livengood

    What an amazing story. Thank you for sharing it with us!

  • Neal Ann Reeves

    So glad to see you writing again. Hope you are well.
    Always Neal Ann

  • Mary Alice Ramsey

    Thank you for doing this. I am one of the seven, now six. I was on the beach. Bet is my dear, lifelong friend and she is truly my hero. Her bravery was beyond words. She is truly a warrior, not only because of her fight to save our friend, but because of her continued strength in sharing and inspiring those around her. Life is so precious. My friendship with Bet and these other wonderful women is one of life’s greatest blessings. Thank you again for sharing this information in such a sensitive manner.

  • Rita Conner

    Thanks for sharing this story of true courage and deep commitment to Christ. However, I wasn’t surprised that it was Betty because I have always known her as a strong woman that come from good stock. Those ladies who remain friends will always have a special bond and are
    truly blessed to have known such friendship.

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!