Jon Palmiere – “a terrific, terrific guy” – gave his life to save a child at Windermere Beach on Friday, May 31st.
Eyewitnesses said Jon had gone after a floaty, but Kiel Jordan reached out to the Pioneer to clarify what happened.
“He wasn’t going after the floaty. He was saving my little 10-year-old daughter, (Payton),” he said.
Jon and his girlfriend – Mr. Jordan’s older step-daughter – were visiting from Calgary for the weekend and enjoying a beach day with Mr. Jordan’s younger girls and another family when Payton ran into trouble.
“My daughter got a little too far out on the water on her floaty and was trying to make it back and she started calling for help, needing some 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,” Mr. Jordan said.
“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 Jon, brought him back to shore on a paddle board, gave him chest compressions and called for help. But it was too late, and Jon passed away in the hospital.
“He’s just the most kind and caring person in the world and anybody that came into contact with him absolutely loved him. You couldn’t make a nicer human, it was just who he was,” Mr. Jordan said.
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,” Mr. Jordan said.
Jon’s last act of kindness was well within the generous young-man’s character, Mr. Jordan said.
“My step-daughter has a brand-new baby, and he (Jon) 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.”
School field trip
A class from J.A. Laird was at the beach for a field trip to the beach at the time. Class supervisors became aware there was a serious event occurring and shuttled the students back to the school.
Rocky Mountain School District superintendent Paul Carriere said staff are “concerned about the impacts on our students.”
School officials sent home communication for parents, including guidelines on how to speak to students about these types of situations. They also sent home information to Windermere families as class had just been dismissed and it is possible some students may have been at the beach around the time of the incident.