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Good InfoFlorida Teen Wins Prestigious Carnegie Award and Full-Ride Scholarship After Daring Rescue

Florida Teen Wins Prestigious Carnegie Award and Full-Ride Scholarship After Daring Rescue

Jakob Thompson – credit Carnegie Hero Fund Commission

From Lantana, Florida comes the story of a courageous teenager who rescued a woman adrift in the fast current of a canal carrying rainwater out to the Atlantic.

The rescue won the young man the Carnegie Hero Award, as well as a local, full-ride scholarship to the Boynton Fire and Rescue Academy to cover the cost of school while he pursues his ambition of becoming a firefighter.

In December 2023, a woman was spotted floating down the Boynton Beach Inlet, the most dangerous inlet of South Florida due to a rapid current, according to Boynton Beach Fire & Rescue.

Unconcerned with his own safety, 17-year-old Jakob Thompson took off his shirt and jumped into the canal, swimming 80 feet and securing the woman around his waist before powering back to the cement wall.

CBS 12 News reports that the woman, while completely exhausted, knew not to struggle, which allowed Thompson to focus on his strokes.

“I just swam as fast as I can to get her. By the time I got to her, I don’t want to say lifeless, but she was very tired from struggling and trying to get out of the water,” Thompson told CBS 12.

The rescue was widely viewed on the news and social media thanks to a video of the incident taken by bystander Maria Gutierrez.

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It caught the attention of a Boynton resident named Sarah Perry, whose son Aden died years ago while trying to save the driver of a car that was sinking into a local lake. Since that tragic day, Sarah has managed the Aden Perry Good Samaritan Scholarship Fund, which aims to raise money and grant full scholarships to students who perform heroic acts.

Thompson is the first such recipient, though he says he never intended to seek a reward.

“Putting my life out there to help somebody came with a reward, but I was never looking for one,” said Thompson.

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Boynton Beach Fire & Rescue joined with Perry in inviting Thompson to tour one of the stations, but once he arrived, he was surprised with the scholarship.

Nearly 5 months later another organization has decided to honor Thompson for his heroic efforts—the Carnegie Medal from the Carnegie Hero Fund, given to those throughout the U.S. and Canada who risk death or serious physical injury in rescuing their fellow man.

17 others were honored with the medal this year. A verse from the New Testament encircles the outer edge: “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends,” (John 15:13).

To date, more than 10,000 Carnegie Medals have been awarded, with about 20% given posthumously.

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