PORTLAND – A man who considers himself a mediocre swimmer received an award Monday night for rescuing a man from the Clackamas River who used to save lives himself.
Eric Rauch, 19, said he and his cousin only “sort of” knew CPR when they saw Lonnie Hamon, a former Navy rescue swimmer, tangled up in a rope and stuck on a log in the Clackamas River.
But Rauch still jumped into action.
“The rope is tied around his neck and shoulder,” Rauch remembered, “and we kind of looked at each other like, ‘Man, he’s dead.’”
Hamon said he would have died if Rauch hadn't been there.
“In fact, I was dead,” he said.
“I did one more chest compression, pumped a little more water out, and he started breathing again and coming back,” Rauch said.
And that brave action saved Hamon’s life. Clackamas County officials presented Rauch with the Citizen Life Saving Award. Fire officials also suggested Rauch would make a great addition to their team. But he said he’s hoping to save lives in a different way; he wants to become a doctor.
"You can't say enough words," said Hamon. "Now its time to just be thankful."
KGW Reporter Reggie Aqui contributed to this report.