Local teen 19-year-old Erick Rauch received a Life-Saving Award from Clackamas Fire Chief Fred Charlton at the district’s board meeting last month, when Lonnie Hamon, 43, who had nearly died, was in attendance to help recognize the local hero.

On Saturday, July 13, Rauch noticed that Hamon, who turned out to be a former U.S. Navy rescue swimmer, had become tangled in a nylon rope that was connected to a downed tree and was trapped underwater on the Clackamas River just above the Carver Boat Ramp. Rauch and his cousin, Lincoln Keesecker, 18, of Tennessee, quickly jumped to action, attempting to free the distressed man from the entanglement. On the third try, the two men were successful in getting him loose.

The two rescuers then noticed Hamon was not breathing and began administering CPR. By the time help arrived at the boat ramp, Hamon was conscious and breathing. Firefighters recognized this story as one of survival because two local teens chose to get involved and make a difference.

A grateful Hamon said: “There are a lot of words in the dictionary like ‘family’ and ‘hope’ and ‘love’ and ‘spirit,’ and I get to experience all of that again because of those two guys.”

Lonnie Hamon’s son, Owen, read a letter to Rauch thanking him for saving his father.

Contract Publishing

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