John Clark: Lifeguard Billed $2,600 For Saving Boy’s Life Has Bill Covered By Donors [Video]

Lifeguard John Clark saved the life of a drowning boy last month and was has billed $2,600 as a result of his heroic efforts.

Now the efforts of two donors have ensured that John Clark and his family won’t have to pay the bill, KOIN Local 6 reported.

The lifeguard, a 17-year-old high school senior , said he didn’t think twice about rushing into the ocean water to save the life of the drowning 12-year-old. The rescue occurred nearly a month ago at Rockaway Beach in Vancouver, Wash., with the lifeguard responding to the cries of the 12-year-old as he was swept out to sea, KOIN Local 6 reported.

After saving the boy he received a bill from the hospital where he was taken for precautionary treatment, something he said shocked him.

When he heard the cries Clark dived in and swam through breakers and heavy swells to reach the drowning boy, then calmed the boy down as he kept him afloat, the report said.

“I don’t know exactly how big the swells were,” Clark told KOIN Local 6, “but they were big enough to push both of us underwater — all the way down to where we were touching sand.”

Even though Clark had only been certified as a lifeguard for five days, he still acted without hesitation.

“He had to do something,” Dan Clark, John’s dad, told KOIN Local 6.

Jet skis arrived and pulled them both safely to shore, where the 12-year-old was wrapped in a blanket. They were both put into an ambulance as a precaution. John Clark said he thought the trip to Tillamook General Hospital was standard procedure and didn’t think anything about it until several weeks later when a bill arrived in the mail.


“I am extremely proud of him,” his dad told KOIN. “When we got the bill it was a shock.”

The emergency room bill came to $449 and the physician’s bill was $227. The 15-mile ride in the ambulance to the hospital was the kicker–it cost a total of $2,007. In all John Clark owed the hospital close to $2,700.

“I had a feeling there would be a bill,” John Clark said. “But I didn’t know how much it would be, and I kind of feel bad for the fact that it’s so expensive. But I couldn’t just let the kid go — I had to do something.”

Hero lifeguard John Clark and his family said they were getting ready to pay the bill, Yahoo News reported. But they’ll never have to worry about it. After Clark’s report first aired on local television, two anonymous donors stepped forward to pay the balance of the bill.