Hideaki Akaiwa was at work when the tsunami hit. His first inclination was to rush home to protect his wife but authorities told him to wait for rescue workers to arrive. Mr. Akaiwa was not about to wait so he put together a makeshift SCUBA rescue suit and swam into the tsunami through the wreckage to save his wife. A few days later, with his mother still unaccounted for, he waded through the see of destruction and found her trapped on the second floor of her house. Long story short: this guy is a legitimate hero.
There are actual news articles of this guys story but this website gives Hideaki's story the retelling it deserves:
BADASS OF THE WEEK