Moose Lodge honors those who helped save boy’s life

Published 10:16 am Friday, June 15, 2007

NATCHEZ — Four young people were presented with plaques Thursday, but they weren’t awards for earning good grades or winning a competition.

Each plaque read “Hero.”

The Natchez Moose Lodge held a celebration in honor of the two lifeguards and a friend who saved the life of 5-year-old Chase Charpentier.

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When Chase fell into the Moose Lodge pool two weeks ago, Matthew Dobson, 13, pulled him out. Lifeguard Jamie Stewart, 16, spotted the boy, and lifeguard Zach Rogel, 20, performed CPR until the paramedics arrived.

The two lifeguards and Matthew smiled shyly as they received their plaques engraved with the words “Hero: Saved a life.”

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero,” Rogel said. “I was just doing my job.”

Chase also received a plaque because surviving that ordeal made him a hero, too, Lodge Governor Allen Burchfield said.

“I’ve received a lot of awards in my life, but I’ve never received something that important,” Burchfield said. “They did a great job doing what they did. I’m proud of them.”

Chase’s father, Jeremy Charpentier, works as a paramedic himself. Driving to the Jackson hospital after receiving the call was a harrowing experience, he said.

“It was scary,” Charpentier said. “All I could think of was all the bad calls I’ve ever had. The most joyous time in my life was when I got to the hospital and saw him alive.”

Charpentier said he couldn’t thank the three who helped his son and the supporters for their prayers and concerns.

Others who received awards were the Red Cross educators who trained the lifeguards.

After everyone received their awards, Chase’s uncle, Lee Charpentier, had the last word.

“I don’t think of you as heroes,” he said to the three with tears in his eyes. “If you asked me, I think of you as Chase’s guardian angels.”