Lifeguard gets bill after ocean rescue

via Koin Local 6:

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Seventeen-year-old John Clark, a senior at Hudson’s Bay, says he didn’t think twice about running into the ocean to save a drowning 12-year-old.

But what he hasn’t stopped thinking about, is the bill he received as a result of his effort.

What started at Rockaway Beach

The guardian angel is busy this week teaching Boy Scouts to tie knots. It’s a far cry from the sand at Rockaway Beach nearly a month ago — when John Clark heard screams for help from a 12-year-old swept out to sea.

The call for help came just five days after Clark had been certified as a lifeguard.

“He had to do something,” said Dan Clark, John’s dad.

So John Clark dove in — through the breakers and heavy swells — to reach the boy in the ocean. Then he calmed the boy down, and kept him afloat.

“I don’t know exactly how big the swells were,” Clark said, “but they were big enough to push both of us underwater — all the way down to where we were touching sand.”

Jet skis arrived and pulled both of them to shore.

John had a headache, and the 12-year-old was wrapped in a blanket to warm up.  Into the ambulance they both went.

‘When we got the bill it was a shock’

Clark thought the trip to Tillamook General Hospital was standard procedure; he didn’t give it a second thought until several weeks later … when the bill arrived.

“I am extremely proud of him,” his dad tells KOIN. “When we got the bill it was a shock.”

The emergency room bill came to $449. The physician’s bill was $227. The 15-mile ride in the ambulance to Tillamook: $1,907. The total bill for saving a young man’s life? Nearly $2,600.

“I had a feeling there would be a bill,” Clark said. “But I didn’t know how much it would be, and I kind of feel bad for the fact that it’s so expensive. But I couldn’t just let the kid go — I had to do something.”

John Clark is a lifeguard at the Firstenburg Community Center pool and the Marshall Community Center in Vancouver. He’s the youngest of nine kids; his family is trying to make arrangements to get the bill paid.

 

UPDATE:

Lifeguard’s bill to be paid after Ore. coast rescue

via Koin Local 6:

PORTLAND, Ore. — The family of a teen lifeguard who ran into the ocean to save a drowning 12-year-old is getting help for the teen’s big medical bills associated with the rescue effort.

About a month ago, John Clark ran into the ocean to save a boy stuck in a rip tide near Oregon’s Rockaway Beach. He wasn’t hurt but did have a headache, and was taken to the hospital to get checked out. The ambulance ride alone elicited a bill of more than $1,900. The total bill, including the emergency room and doctor visit, came to nearly $2,600.

Dan Clark, John Clark’s dad, said that although the bill has notyet been paid two people have stepped forward to pay it in full.

“I’ve been in contact with them [the donors], and they’re going to present my son with a check for the hospital,” Dan Clark said. “They want to remain anonymous.”

As it turns out, the full donation comes as a huge blessing to John’s family — who had run into problems setting up an account for viewers to make individual donations.

“We went down to our bank, which told us we had to get an attorney and set up a trust fund for him,” Dan Clark said. “So we called the hospital, to say that we wanted to have people send money to them. But then these two people came forward.”

His son, John Clark, is a lifeguard at the Firstenburg Community Center pool and the Marshall Community Center in Vancouver. He’s the youngest of nine kids.

KOIN has received countless offers from viewers offering to pick up a portion of the tab. Its phone system was flooded Thursday morning with calls, offering help from places including California, Illinois, Arizona, Wisconsin, Utah, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida as this story went viral.

“People like that need to be rewarded when they do something like that,” said Philip Doyle, calling Thursday from Florida. “This was a total, selfless thought. A lot of other people would have walked away, but he did what any sensible person would do in this situation: he guarded someone’s life. I am totally moved by this story.”

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