Young lifeguard's heroism inspires gift
Women offer to pay rest of medical bill, set up trust fund
Sunday, August 12, 2012
You can help
Donations to the John Cody Clark trust fund can accepted directly at Chase Bank, 3205 N.E. 52nd St., or mailed to:
The John Cody Clark Education Trust, c/o O’Donnell Clark and Crew LLP, Fremont Place II, Suite 302, 1650 N.W. Naito Parkway, Portland, OR 97209
Anyone with questions can contact Chase Bank trustee Jennifer Englebart at 360-750-3040.
After rescuing a 12-year-old from the surf at Rockaway Beach near Tillamook, Ore., on July 1, only to face a $2,600 medical bill, lifeguard John Clark is getting a big "thank you" from some anonymous donors touched by his story of bravery and selflessness.
Two women offered to pay off whatever debt remains of Clark's medical bill and set up an education trust fund for John Clark's higher education.
"I just let them run with it," said his dad, Dan Clark, whom the women contacted about the fund on Aug. 2.
Donors are negotiating with Tillamook General Hospital to lower the bill, so more money can go to the trust fund.
John Clark, 17, is the youngest in a family of nine children, most of whom haven't gone to college. A sister graduated from Seattle University and a brother went to New Mexico State University.
As John Clark enters his senior year at Hudson's Bay High School, he's considering Central Washington University, Oregon State University or Washington State University Vancouver for fall 2013.
Money from the trust goes only to college. When he reaches age 25, any unused funds will go to the Scholarship Fund of Clark College.
Starting Monday, donations will be accepted at the Minnehaha Chase bank branch and at the O'Donnell Clark and Crew law firm, which set up the education trust fund.
"We think that he's quite the guy for doing this," said Adam Anderson, a lawyer at O'Donnell. "We hope we can help him achieve his goals."
Clark was flying kites on the beach with his girlfriend and nephew, when he heard a boy screaming for help. Someone on shore pointed toward the boy, Robert, who was bobbing in the waves 50 to 100 yards from shore.
Clark threw off his shirt and swam out to him. Robert was panicking and clinging to Clark, so the two started to sink.
Medics asked Clark some questions and started filling out paperwork. He had swallowed a lot of salt water and had a migraine. Clark said he never signed anything or looked at the paperwork, but climbed into the back of the ambulance with Robert.
“I thought getting into the ambulance was standard procedure,” Clark said. “I figured I was just going along for the ride. I was fine by that point.”
Robert, however, was shivering and shaking — symptoms of hypothermia, Clark said.
Once they arrived at Tillamook County General Hospital, hospital crews asked Clark if they could do X-rays on his lungs, since he swallowed so much saltwater. Clark declined, dried off with some towels and drank some water. Then his mom, Marty Clark, picked him up and drove him home.
A few weeks later, the Clark family got the hospital bill: About $450 for the emergency room, $230 for the doctor’s fee and just over $1,900 for the ambulance. The total was nearly $2,600.