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Friday, August 6, 2010

High School Training Pays Off

Article published Aug 5, 2010
Student was taught CPR in school
By STAN MADDUX Tribune Correspondent
A CPR class offered at New Prairie High School gave a student the skills to save the life of a man who nearly drowned in Hudson Lake.

Brandon Willett, 17, of New Carlisle, said it took a "couple of minutes" of applying CPR before the man just pulled from the water started breathing again.

Willett leaped into action Tuesday when bystanders who pulled the man out of the water asked if anyone knew CPR.

He happened to be with some friends in a car parked at the lakefront and responded to the need.

"I thought it was something I had to do since I knew how to do CPR and nobody else did," said Willett, who is going into the 11th grade.Just after 5 p.m., emergency responders found Jeffrey Tallon at Bluebird Beach, lying at the water's edge and being administered CPR.

LaPorte County sheriff's deputy Andrew Morse said Tallon's pulse had been restored, but his breathing was "very labored" and he was unconscious.

Morse said he later went to LaPorte Hospital, where Tallon, described as being in his late 40s to early 50s, was still being treated. He had not yet regained consciousness, police said.

Information about his condition Wednesday afternoon was not available.

Eugene Olszewski, of Hudson Lake, told investigators he and Tallon were hanging out and during the course of the day they consumed at least 15 beers and some whiskey, police said.At one point, the men decided to cool off and removed their shirts, entering the water while still wearing their blue jeans.

According to police, Olszewski said he was chest-high in water as Tallon was swimming toward a buoy 200 feet away from the shore.

Suddenly, he said, Tallon stopped swimming, and Olszewski thought Tallon was joking until he slipped beneath the water.

Olszewski headed toward the lake's bottom, where he found Tallon and managed to get him back to the water's surface.

Willett said the man was turning purple when he restored his breathing.He then sent his mother, Jennifer Willett, a text message informing her that he had just saved a life.

"I'm glad he was at the right place at the right time to help someone," she said.

Willett, who earned his CPR certificate at school in the ninth grade, said his emotions were racing a bit while working to resuscitate the man.

"I guess I was there for a reason," Willett said.