Abigail Webber Zuelke
Abigail Webber Zuehlke, Citadel Class of 2003, is a true hero. Her selfless service helped save the lives of two people. While at the beach with her family, Abigail saw three men caught in a rip tide and on the verge of drowning. She immediately passed her 9-month-old baby from her lap to her husband, kissed him, and raced toward the water. “I’ve always been confident in the water,” says Abigail, who was once a lifeguard. Tim Glas, Class of 1993, was at the beach as well. Together, they rescued two men. The third swimmer was able to make his way to shore.
Ms. Zuelke, a former Marine, learned one of the men she rescued was a freshly minted Marine Corps graduate. He and his friends had gone to the beach to celebrate his accomplishment. "I'm proud of him, says Abigail. “He will go on to do great things for the Corps."
Ms. Zuelke received the Carnegie Hero Medal as well as the Navy and Marine Corps Medal for her courage on the beach that day. In November 2011, she was recognized by The Citadel her bravery. She became the first woman and the 20th member inducted into the Arland D. Williams Society at The Citadel. Created in 2000 by The Citadel Alumni Association, the Arland D. Williams Society recognizes alumni who have made significant contributions to their communities and or have acted in the noblest way in placing the well-being of others before themselves. It is named in honor of Arland D. Williams, Class of 1957, who drowned after surviving a 1982 plane crash in the Potomac River in Washington, D.C. After repeatedly passing a life ring to other survivors, Williams drowned before he could be rescued.
While a cadet, Ms. Zuelke was an English major and a member of Band Company. Now, she is a captain in the Marine Corps Reserve and studies nursing. She plans to ultimately work for the veteran or active/reserve military population as a nurse anesthetist.
Though her studies take up much of her time, she says she always puts her family first. "This career shift allows me to maximize my time with my husband and children."
Abigail Webber Zuelke (2014). Personal communication.