Rochester High School Senior honored for his life-saving efforts

NOW: Rochester High School Senior honored for his life-saving efforts

ROCHESTER, Ind. – A Rochester High School Senior was recognized on Thursday for his bravery and actions after saving the life of his close friend and teammate.

“Many involved have stated that without the quick and experienced actions by Jake, the young man would have died,” says Mayor Denton of Rochester.

Jacob Freeman; a Rochester High School senior, lifeguard, and tennis player is now recognized as a hometown hero at just 18 years old.

“We were running together and all of a sudden, we just see him on the ground,” recalls Jake.

On August 5th, Jake and his close friend Drew Strasser were at tennis practice when Drew collapsed.

“He was just on the ground, and everyone was leaving, and I just stayed behind because I didn’t want to be a bad friend,” Freeman says.

Jake used his skills as a lifeguard and jumped into action; applying an AED to shock Drew’s heart and re-establish a rhythm and performing CPR until medics arrived at the tennis court.

His quick thinking likely saved Drew’s life.

“That’s one of the most important things is early CPR and early defibrillation,” says Josh Gaines, one of the responding medics on August 5th. “A very low percentage of people that go into cardiac arrest end up walking out of the hospital.”

Jake says he went into autopilot knowing there wasn’t a second to spare.

“It felt like I wasn’t in control of my body,” Jake recalls. “It felt like God used me and my conscience, it didn’t even feel like my conscience was there at all, like everything just felt frozen.”

The Mayor of Rochester held a ceremony to honor Jake and his heroic efforts with a city commendation, a life-saving award from Lutheran EMS, and the Sagamore of the Wabash award.

He also earned the title of Distinguished Hoosier form Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb himself.

However, Jake considers getting to play a doubles match with Drew during sectionals just weeks after the incident the greatest gift of all.

“It was very surreal, I never thought I’d be playing with him, ever,” Jake says.

“I didn’t think I’d ever play tennis again,” Drew adds.

For Drew, he can’t thank his friend enough for saving his life and allowing them to hit the court together one last time.

“I’m especially grateful for Jake,” says Drew. “He’s the one that who acted quickly and gave me CPR and actually brought me physically back to life. It’s amazing, it’s really amazing.”

Doctors haven’t been able to determine why Drew’s hear went into a state of v-fib, but while at Riley Hospital, they implanted an internal defibrillator on his side to shock his heart back into a normal rhythm so he can be treated immediately if it ever happens again.

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