LEHI, Utah – An off-duty firefighter who saved a child’s life earlier this month said it was unusual for him to be at a community pool, and the boy’s mother said she believes it’s a miracle the man was in the right place at the right time.
Hillary Horman took her son Jude to the Cranberry Farms neighborhood pool on June 13, and she said he nearly drowned that day.
“It was my worst hell,” she said of the day. “And I think as a mom we all have nightmares about what it would be like to be in that situation, and I can say that it was a thousand times worse than my worst nightmare. It was my own personal hell."
Jude was found at the bottom of the pool that day. He was at the bottom for between three and five minutes.
"I just remember people just screaming my name and saying that there was a drowning,” Horman said.
Captain Jake Beck of the Lehi Fire Department is a personal friend of the Horman family, and he just happened to be at the pool that day with his three children. He said it was unusual for him to be at the pool.
"It was one of my daddy day care days, my wife works one day a week, I've got 3 kids, I normally would never take them to the pool when I've got 'em,” he said. “It was kind of weird circumstances that I even ended up there."
Horman said she remembers screaming Jake Beck’s name, and she gave the child to her friend.
"His color was really bad, he was purple and not breathing,” Beck said.
Beck said he gave Jude CPR for about 30 seconds, and then the boy opened his eyes.
"After he had come around, I put Jude up on my shoulder and began to hit his back, and he was coughing up water and other things,” Beck said. “His mother came and grabbed him at that time and took him off, and of course I followed her to get him back so I could continue medical care with him.”
Beck said response time is usually critical, so he said it was very fortunate he was nearby when Jude got in trouble.
"In 14 years of emergency services, I've seen the outcome with drownings, and it typically isn't good,” he said. “Our guys get here really quick, but 5 minutes: it would have been bad for Jude."
Doctors said there is a 99 percent chance Jude will recover without any complications.
"It's not only a miracle that he's alive, but it's a miracle that he doesn't have brain damage, or that he doesn't have any side-effects from it,” Horman said.
Beck may have been doing what he is trained to do, but Horman said Beck is more than just someone doing a job.
"He's more than a fireman, and he's more than a hero, he saved a lot of people that day, not just Jude,” she said.
But Beck was quick to direct the praise onto others who were there that day.
"I was referred to as a hero, I really don't believe I was a hero,” he said. "I did what I was trained to do. It was miraculous. The outcome was great, but I think the citizens that aren't trained like I am, that helped out, are the real heroes."
Horman said she wants to thank Beck from the bottom of her heart for saving her son, and she said there is no way she can ever repay him. She said she believes Beck was there that day for a reason.
"He was meant to be here, and he was most definitely meant to be the one to save Jude,” she said.