In his address to the graduating class of Utah Valley University on May 1, President Thomas S. Monson mentioned the story of Elgin Staples, who was blown off the deck of the USS Astoria in early August 1942, during the Battle of Savo Island.
Just as his ship came under attack, he fortunately had the forethought to strap on his life belt, which he inflated after hitting the water. Four hours later, he was pulled aboard an American destroyer from shark infested waters.
Because of his wounds, he was granted 30 days of leave, so he went home to Akron, Ohio to visit his mother.
While there, he pointed out that the life belt that saved him was made right in his hometown of Akron at the Firestone Tire and Rubber Company. That was where his mother had started working after he left for the service.
He grabbed his life belt—which he hung onto as a souvenir—from his duffel bag to show his mom. They noticed the inspector number on the belt. His mom’s eyes and mouth opened wide with surprise. She said, “Son, I’m an inspector at Firestone. This is my inspector number.”
Half a world a way, a life belt, manufactured in his mom’s plant, and inspected by her, had saved his life. What a moment that must have been.
To the moms out there: Never underestimate the power of your impact. You never know who you are going to save.