KAMLOOPS - Julien Peron traded in his cell phone, his sandal and his shirt, and in return, a Kamloops man kept his life.
Peron, a city-employed lifeguard of eight years, also has some scrapes and bruises after leaping down an embankment to rescue a man who was face-down, unconscious and bleeding in the North Thompson River Monday afternoon. He was just in the right place at the right time. A police officer saw the man fall and called to Peron and a friend for help. They jumped right in. Peron didn't even think about the iPhone in his pocket, now ruined.
While temporarily living without a cell phone means fewer phone calls and the cost of repairs, he can communicate through Facebook. And the experience aided him in a long-term goal.
"I want to be a cop," he said. "As an experience as a whole, it was very valuable."
He currently works in bylaws for the city, but hopes to move up and eventually work in policing. He may be a step in the right direction after receiving kudos from the local RCMP for yesterday's rescue.
Peron was riding his bike with friend and co-worker, 22-year-old Callie Hill, when he saw a cop walking into the bushes off of Schubert Drive.
"I saw through the trees that there was a guy face down in the water, unconscious," Peron said.
Peron remembers the blood pooling around the man, 'so bright you could see it in the water.'
His curiosity brought him to the scene, however his experience and instincts as a lifeguard took over next.
He jumped down the embankment into the water and brought the man to shore as the cop radioed for emergency crews. Hill, right behind him, aided in the water as Peron held the man up and helped when the downed man vomited.
To Peron's relief, the man opened his eyes.
"I thought for sure we were going to be doing CPR on him," he said.
Peron is well-trained, however quick thinking is what brought the 53-year-old man to shore, alive.
"In that moment, I felt fine," he said. "I just did it."
Firefighters, the police officer and the two lifeguards pulled the man up the steep embankment on a board before he was taken to the hospital. Peron said the man had multiple cuts and bumps on his head. He sent the patient en route to Royal Inland Hospital, his head wrapped in Peron's brand new tank top he purchased on a recent trip.
"Things like this happen," he said with a chuckle.
He believes he can get his new iPhone fixed for a good price, too. And before you think of it—no, he won't take any help. No donations, nothing like that.
"I'm not going to take any money from anyone," he said. "That's not really what I want out of it."
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