IT'S NOT THE FOURTH WITHOUT LOCAL HEROES

July 04, 2001 12:00 am
Jessy Watson ().
Jessy Watson ().

GOWEN FIELD, Idaho Standing on the back ramp of an M-113 armored personnel carrier, Sgt. Jessy Watson of La Grande does not look or act like a hero.

In fact, when it comes right down to it, Watson, 23, doesnt even like the word.

I look at it like this: If someone else had been around who knew CPR, they would have done the same thing, Watson said.

What he did was save a friends life in La Grande, and while Watson doesnt dwell on what he did that day, but the Oregon National Guard has honored him.

Watson was awarded the Oregon Exceptional Service Medal, the highest military award the state can give a National Guardsman.

Watson, a member of the 3rd Battalion, 116th Cavalry (Armor) is just one of hundreds of National Guardsmen who traveled to Gowen Field near Boise in June for annual training.

The incident for which Watson was honored occurred in La Grande last month two days before he went to annual training.

Watson watched one of his good friends, Dave Lund, collapse and stop breathing during a softball game in La Grande. Lund had a cardiac arrest.

Lund and Watson, who are on the same city league softball team, had been friends for several years, and when Watson watched Lund pull the trigger on a home run he was pleased.

After Lund slid into home plate and stood up, something went terribly wrong. One minute Watson was staring out over the softball field and the next he was listening to a teammate tell him Lund had collapsed and was having seizures.

We went over and cleared everything away. I couldnt figure out why he was having a seizure. I got on the phone and called his parents, and at the same time another one of our teammates was calling the hospital. I got hold of his parents, and they said he had no history of seizures, Watson said.

Watson ran back to his friend. By then, Lund was not breathing.

Watson ran to his car, desperately searching for his first aid kit. The kit was gone. Watson ran back to his friend and decided he had to act.

I got someone to help with compressions and I started CPR, Watson said. He began to give his friend mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

At that point he wasnt breathing no pulse. Twice he started to breathe but then he couldnt breathe for himself, Watson said.

Finally, an ambulance arrived.

They had to hook him up to a defibrillator machine. They had to shock him. That brought him back. At the hospital he could sustain breathing on his own, Watson said.

Im happy he didnt die, Watson said.

Lund is in Idaho Elks Rehabilitation Center in Boise after initially being taken to St. Lukes. where he was in a coma.

The heart attack on the softball

field had been brought on by severe dehydration.

Now, his parents, Bob and Vicki Lund, say he has no short-term memory. Bob Lund is a former Oregon State Police officer in

La Grande.

The pieces of his memory that include his friend, Watson, are gone.

The 3rd Battalion Commander, Lt. Col. Bryan Keibler, granted Watson time out from the field to go see Lund in the hospital.

He arranged for me to go see him after he came out of the coma, Watson said, but Lund did not remember him.

I talked to him but he doesnt remember me. He doesnt remember much since he left the Marine Corps, Watson said.

Both Lund and Watson are former Marines.

Watson said he did what he had been trained to do in the Marines and in the Guard.

As soon as someone said he wasnt breathing, I knew we had to start CPR, Watson said.

Watson sees his actions in simple terms. I did what someone else would have done if they had the training, Watson said.