Young hero honored in Charles City - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Young hero honored in Charles City

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CHARLES CITY, Iowa (KTTC) -- What started as a fun day of fishing turned into a traumatic day two families will never forget.

On August 4, 2012, Jared Cook and Gunnar Starks were fishing at Lake Hendricks in Riceville, Iowa, when a bolt of lightening struck Gunnar.

"What do you think would have happened if Jared wasn't there?" "I would have died," said Gunnar, now 13 years old and from Byron.

Jared said he remembers hearing the loud thunder, blacking out and then falling to the ground. After waking up a few minutes later, the first thing he remembered seeing was his friend Gunnar lying motionless on a tree. That's when Jared went looking for help. First, he stopped the driver of a passing pickup truck, then he called his mom.

"I called my mom to see if she was at the camper. Then they went over and looked at Gunnar. Then the guy was screaming I think he's dead. Then he called 911 and all you could hear was sirens through the whole camp ground," said Jared.

Jared, who is in the fourth grade at Washington Elementary School in Charles City, was honored by the Iowa State Patrol and his classmates during a surprise school assembly on Friday.

"Especially at Jared's age who has done something to save someone's life," said Lt. Dan Schaffer of the Iowa State Patrol. "When they're afraid themselves, they've been hurt and they're able to pick up and do the right thing, that's courageous."

The Iowa State Patrol awarded Jared with a plaque during the assembly, and his classmates and teachers applauded him with a standing ovation.

The school principal also had her own award for Jared too, a Superman T-shirt.

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