Niagara Gazette

December 16, 2013

Falls students return from Ohio trip heroes

by Mia Summerson
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — When Patrick Young and Kalem Chappell went to Ohio last month for a football competition they hoped to come home victorious, but instead they came home as heroes.

Both boys are part of the Niagara Falls Junior Football Club, Kalem, a member of the Cobras team, was competing in Independence the weekend of Nov. 30.

While swimming in the pool at an area Holiday Inn, the boys noticed something drifting at the bottom of the deep end and decided to go check it out. What they found surprised them.

“We were swimming in the end, just messing around and stuff, and I was looking around the pool when I saw a dark figure,” said Patrick, a 13-year-old who attends LaSalle Preparatory School. “I looked at Kalem and said, ‘Do you see that?’ We went down and saw this person.”

“We were really scared and nervous,” added 11-year old Kalem, a student at Cataract Elementary School. “We tried to pull him up together, but he was too heavy.”

“We came back up, and pulled on this lady’s arm and made her come in to get him out,” Patrick continued.

When the lady, the mother of a student from Niagara-Wheatfield who was also in town for the football tournament, pulled the boy from the water, he was unconscious.

Another NIagara-Wheatfield parent performed CPR on the boy until the authorities arrived. As all this was happening, Patrick’s guardian, Cece Klinger was upstairs in their hotel room. When she came downstairs the scene she walked into was hectic to say the least.

“When we went down there no one allowed around the pool,” she said. “The cops were coming through the back door, very secretly. The kids on the team came running up, yelling that someone had just saved a kid from the pool.”

According to Patrick and Kalem, the boy they’d saved was off to the hospital in a matter of minutes, and later released. All that is known about him is that he is a 9-year-old from Detroit. It is also known that without Patrick and Kalem, he might not be here today. 

“First and foremost, I’m proud of both of them for reacting instead of running away,” said Kalem’s father Rick Chappell. “The two of them worked together and made it a team effort. No one backed out, no one got scared. Especially being a 9-year-old kid, with them being so young, it could have been anybody.”

Chappell also gave credit to the Niagara Falls School District for keeping the kids active in swimming. He said that if it wasn’t for them they might not have been able to get to that boy.

“They didn’t even have to go down there,” said Klinger. “They went to go get help, they could have just kept swimming, but they were brave enough to try.”