A community is in mourning after an Alberta man gave his life to save a young girl at a Kootenay-area lake.
Jon Palmiere, “a terrific, terrific guy,” saved a child at Lake Windermere on Friday, May 31.
Palmiere and his girlfriend were in town from Calgary to visit her family and enjoying a day with them at Windermere Beach, when her 10-year-old step-sister, Payton, ran into trouble.
“My daughter got a little too far out on the water on her floatie and was trying to make it back,” said Kiel Jordan, Palmiere’s girlfriend’s step-father. “She started calling for help … and then her head started bobbing underneath the water.
“And so Jon, without hesitation, ran into the lake and tried to help her get back. He wasn’t a strong swimmer at all, but he just went for it.
“His head started going under trying to keep her up and then he slipped under the water, and his last go was to grab her feet, somehow threw her up out of the water towards the beach, which got her within arm’s reach of other people that helped bring my daughter back onto the beach, and then he went under the water.”
Others rushed to save Palmiere and brought him back to shore on a paddleboard. They gave him chest compressions and called for help. But he later died in hospital.
“He’s just the most kind and caring person in the world and anybody that came into contact with him absolutely loved him,” Jordan said. “You couldn’t make a nicer human, it was just who he was.”
Payton was returned safely to shore and is in counselling to help process what she witnessed.
“Physically she’s fine. He kept her above. She bobbed a few times before he got there, but he kept her above.”
He said Palmiere’s last act of kindness was illustrated just how generous he was.
“My step-daughter has a brand-new baby, and he just steps up and mans up and helps out even though the child isn’t his. He’s just that human, he’s always the guy that’s going to help you.”