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Vancouver man credited with saving a life at Daybreak Park

Phillip Campagna jumped in to perform CPR on a teen who went under the water at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground on Thursday

BATTLE GROUND — Had Phillip Campagna and his sons left Daybreak Park when they originally intended, this story would likely have a very different ending.

Phillip Campagna is shown here with several of his children (Note: he is not a member of Seaside Ocean Rescue). Photo courtesy Phillip Campagna
Phillip Campagna is shown here with several of his children (Note: he is not a member of Seaside Ocean Rescue). Photo courtesy Phillip Campagna

“Big time fluke that I stuck around that much longer,” Campagna says. “Just enough time to have this happen.”

Campagna says, while his younger son swam a bit longer at the busy park on Thursday afternoon, he stood talking with his older son and another person.

“All of a sudden, out of nowhere, as I’m standing on that little island in the middle of Daybreak underneath the bridge,” Campagna recalls, “two gentlemen just come out of the water and they’ve got what looked to be a kid with a diving mask on. And they’re yelling, ‘hey, we need some help!'”

That’s when Campagna says his CPR training and upbringing as a boy scout, cub scout, and eagle scout took over.

“When I got to him he was gray, blue, completely unresponsive. He was gone,” says Campagna.

Clark County Fire & Rescue Paramedics tend to a teenage boy who nearly drowned Thursday at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Dickey
Clark County Fire & Rescue Paramedics tend to a teenage boy who nearly drowned Thursday at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Dickey

He began alternating mouth-to-mouth and chest compressions, hoping to get the young man breathing again.

“He bit my lip,” Campagna says, “and I saw his eyes slightly perk up, and I knew I had him back.”

After getting the teen to spit up some water, Campagna says he enlisted the help of some other men nearby to get the victim from the island to the nearby boat ramp. There they made him comfortable until paramedics arrived.

Campagna says the teen’s father was there, and that the victim is apparently autistic. It’s still not clear how the near drowning happened, but there is a steep drop off in that part of the East Fork Lewis River.

Clark County Fire & Rescue Paramedics tend to a teenage boy who nearly drowned Thursday at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Dickey
Clark County Fire & Rescue Paramedics tend to a teenage boy who nearly drowned Thursday at Daybreak Park in Battle Ground. Photo courtesy Elizabeth Dickey

Luckily, or perhaps fortuitously, the teen was able to respond to paramedics, and managed to walk to the waiting ambulance.

This isn’t the first time Campagna has been pressed into action to help save a life. He says a little over a year ago he came upon a car wreck, breaking a window to help pull a victim out. Two other times he’s had to perform CPR. One of those times the victim, unfortunately, did not survive.

“If I see someone in trouble, especially children or women,” Campagna says, “I will step in just about a hundred percent of the time if it’s not being taken care of.”

Note: Clark County Today has requested more information from Clark County Fire & Rescue. We will update this story with the victim’s condition when/if it becomes available..

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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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