Students display heroism

Several twists of fate contributed to an act of heroism that saved a local man’s life this past weekend.

Two Hollidaysburg Area High School football players were at Tiger Stadium on Sunday afternoon when they noticed a jogger, 68-year-old Jerry Jackson, had collapsed on the running track.

Immediately, Daniel Baker and Caleb Parnell – both 17-year-old juniors at Hollidaysburg – raced to the man’s rescue and successfully performed CPR. Both are credited with resuscitating him.

An avid runner, father of five and grandfather of 10, Jackson is now recovering in the intensive care unit of Altoona Regional. Jackson’s son, Chris, called his father’s fate “truly a miracle.”

Indeed, it is.

What are the odds that the boys would be at the field, working on football drills, on a Sunday afternoon?

What are the odds both were trained in CPR?

What are the odds one of them, Parnell, would have a CPR mask in his vehicle?

What are the odds of success?

Talk about incredible poise and teamwork – a quarterback (Parnell) and a receiver (Baker), ironically – under pressure.

The boys checked for Jackson’s pulse and found none.

Baker, who completed lifeguard CPR training just over a month ago, removed Jackson’s dentures and checked to ensure his airway was clear before beginning to perform chest compressions. He performed 100 per minute for 10 minutes while Parnell administered rescue breaths.

Emergency medical personnel arrived and used a defibrillator to get Jackson’s heart pumping.

Both students are the sons of parents in the medical field – sons who have made their families awfully proud and the Jackson family awfully grateful.

Baker and Parnell even paid a hospital visit.

“They are just amazing young men,” Chris Jackson said, “and they want to be doctors.”

Daniel Baker and Caleb Parnell are certainly off to a great start.

(Editor’s note: Daniel Baker was mistakenly identified in this editorial in today’s print edition. The information was corrected at 6:30 a.m. today.)