On the diving board, 95-year-old veteran gives young boy a lesson in courage

CANTON, Ohio -- The distance between a diving board and the surface of the water can feel like half a body length, especially when it is half a body length.

That's why, all summer long, 4-year-old Dylan Stich has been cheating the system, gradually lowering himself into the water like a fragile egg.

"He had no interest in it, ever," said Dylan's mom, Marla.

"We were just saying, 'Hey, you want to give it a shot? You want to give it a try,'" Marla said.

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Dylan Stich

CBS News

Enter 95-year-old Daniel Biss, who was in the Air Force during World War II and the Korean War. He knows a thing or two about fear and bravery. So when he saw a neighbor kid at a family pool party in Canton, Ohio, and heard everyone trying to coax him off the board, he knew exactly what Dylan needed.

"Just needed some convincing, I guess," Daniel said. "I was going to try, anyway."

So Daniel borrowed a swimsuit, and with cane in hand stepped up to set the example. The great-grandfather hadn't been on a diving board in 50 years, and yet he stood up on one, ready to teach a lesson in courage, which nearly turned into a lesson in first aid.

"Everyone kind of held their breath and got real nervous like, 'Oh, was this a bad idea?'" Marla said.

"I was up there that far, I figured I may as well go through with it," Daniel said.

So at the age of 95, he dove for Dylan.

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Daniel Biss.

T&T Creative Media LLC

It wasn't the prettiest dive, but he couldn't have done better -- because shortly after Daniel took his last jump off a diving board, Dylan took his first.

"It was really neat that that inspired him to do it. It was a neat moment," Marla said.

That all happened last month, and today Dylan jumps with no problem. Hopefully his courage will now inspire you, with whatever leap you need to make. 

To contact On the Road, or to send us a story idea, email us: OnTheRoad@cbsnews.com 

  • Steve Hartman

    Steve Hartman has been a CBS News correspondent since 1998, having served as a part-time correspondent for the previous two years.