Chief Petty Officer Thomas Sanchez used his military training to help save American triathlete Jordan Rapp’s life after a hit and run cycling accident on Tuesday, March 23. The Ventura County Star reports on the reunion between Sanchez and Rapp.
Chief Petty Officer Thomas Sanchez was preparing to deploy to Afghanistan when his training for the battlefield helped him save a life at home.
Sanchez was heading home to Camarillo from Naval Base Ventura County on March 23 when he found Jordan Rapp, a professional triathlete, lying in a pool of blood. Authorities said a driver had collided with the bicyclist near CSU Channel Islands, then apparently left him for dead. First aid administered by Sanchez, a Navy Seabee, likely helped save his life, authorities said.
Rapp and his family agree, and when Sanchez stopped by the hospital Monday, they had a chance to thank him one more time before he leaves for the war zone.
“He’s a wonderful human being,” Rapp’s mother, Diane Rapp, said of Sanchez. “I just feel like he’s going to be a part of our family forever.”
Six days after the crash, Rapp, 29, of Thousand Oaks was still awaiting surgery for some of his injuries, but he was sitting up in his bed at St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Oxnard and plotting his return to racing as relatives watched over him.
The reigning champion of Ironman Canada and Ironman Arizona, Rapp was training for a half-Ironman distance triathlon in Oceanside. He started the day with a 2.5-mile swim and 30-minute run near his home, then headed out for a bike ride along Lewis Road, he said. He had ridden the route many times before and felt it was safe.
The last thing he remembers before the crash is riding his time-trial bike on the last high-speed interval of his workout, he said. His memories pick up two days later when medical personnel were removing a breathing tube.