The Kiss of Life; A Story of Bravery and Survival

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Explore the story behind a famous picture and why it’s important. Follow us as we talk about a brave rescue in Jacksonville, Florida, and the heroes who did something extraordinary to save a life.

In the hot month of July, photographer Rocco Morabito was heading to take some pictures in Jacksonville, Florida. While passing West 26th Street, he saw two workers from the Jacksonville Electric Authority fixing a power pole. Little did Morabito know that something unexpected was about to happen.

Photo credit: Morabito with his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo / Source

Randall G. Champion, one of the workers, accidentally touched an electric line high up on the pole. A strong electric shock made him pass out, even though he had protective gear on.

Working on another pole about 400 feet away, J.D. Thompson rushed over when he heard someone calling for help. Since Champion was hanging in the air, regular CPR wouldn’t work. Thompson had to think fast to figure out how to save his coworker.

Thompson had to act fast. He sealed Champion’s mouth with his own and breathed into him. After pushing on Champion’s chest many times, Thompson felt a weak pulse. Thompson knew it was serious. He unhooked Champion from the pole, carried him down, and, on the ground, Thompson and another worker did CPR until the paramedics came. Champion’s pulse got stronger, and he started breathing independently, even though he wasn’t fully awake. Time was super important, and Thompson and his team’s brave moves greatly helped.

Rocco Morabito, the photographer who first stopped to take regular pictures of the workers, understood that things were serious. He used his car’s radio to call for an ambulance and captured the powerful moment of Thompson giving Champion the “kiss of life” on camera. The photo became famous worldwide and won an important prize in 1968.

Because of J.D. Thompson’s quick thinking and bravery, Randall G. Champion got a second chance at life. Champion lived for another 35 years and died peacefully in 2002 at 64. Sadly, Morabito, the photographer, passed away in April 2009. J.D. Thompson, the hero of this amazing story, was doing well at the time of writing.

The rescue story in Jacksonville is a strong reminder of how regular people can become heroes when faced with tough situations. The famous photo captures this heroic act’s essence, ensuring the memory of those involved will last for generations.

Photo credit: Morabito with his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo / Source


  1. I’ve seen this picture before brought tears to my eyes of this brave young man, so glad the photographer got the prize, great photo😎


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