Lantana teen receives prestigious honor and scholarship for daring water rescue

A Lantana teenager is being recognized across North America for his heroic actions, receiving a prestigious honor for diving into unsafe waters to rescue a woman.

Cellphone video captured the moment 17-year-old Jakob Thompson jumped off the seawall and into the water to help rescue a 35-year-old woman being swept out into the ocean from the Boynton Beach Inlet on November 30, 2023.

Thompson was recently awarded the Carnegie Medal. The honor is given to those throughout the U.S. and Canada who risk death or serious physical injury to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others.

Seventeen others were recognized for their heroics, however, Thompson was the only Floridian from the group to receive the medal.

Other rescuers in this group include a college wrestler who pulled an attacking grizzly bear off his friend to then be attacked himself, a woman who put herself between another woman and four attacking pit bulls, and a man who rammed his tractor into a burning home to remove the woman unconscious inside.

Each of the recipients or their survivors will receive a financial grant, the release said.

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CBS12 News first interviewed 17-year-old Thompson in December of 2023, just a month after the rescue. He shared what came over him in the moments before he dived into the water.

“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,” said Thompson.

The 17-year-old risked his own life without hesitation. Thompson told CBS12 News that as an aspiring firefighter, he’d do it all over again.

The local fire rescue noticed the teen’s brave actions.

Following his daring rescue, Boynton Beach Fire Rescue invited Thompson for a tour of one of their stations on December 20. Little did he know, the tour also doubled as a scholarship ceremony.

Thompson told CBS12 News after receiving the scholarship, he hopes to one day return to the Boyton Beach Fire Rescue as a firefighter.

“Now after having a scholarship, it’s gonna take care of everything and I know I’m going to be able to finish my schooling as a firefighter,” said Thompson.