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The youngest of five children, he was only 8 when his father died.
For three decades, he'd carried with him mere snapshots of memories: Family time at Christmas. Riding on the back of Dad's motorcycle. Tommie Stephney's love for drag-racing.
But as the 37-year-old Douglasville, Georgia, man set out September 22 to try and save a woman whose car was swept away by rushing waters, he thought of his father's drowning. He, too, had fought to rescue people struggling against currents.