HEROES: Pretty Swell

When the New York-to-Cuba vacation liner Morro Castle was gutted by fire off the New Jersey coast in 1934 with the loss of 124 lives, closest approach to a hero to emerge from the muckraking Department of Commerce investigation that followed was the ship's chief radio operator, pudgy George White ("Sparks") Rogers. Having stuck to his key until he was hauled out of the radio room half-suffocated, Sparks Rogers was decorated for his heroism by the Veteran Wireless Operators Association.

He left the sea at the insistence of his wife Edith, but lost...

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