Discover the amazing story behind a famous image and its significance in history. Join us as we delve into a courageous rescue in Jacksonville, Florida, and learn about the heroes who saved a man’s life.

In the summer of July, a photographer named Rocco Morabito was on his way to a photo assignment in Jacksonville, Florida. As he passed West 26th Street, he noticed two workers from the Jacksonville Electric Authority performing regular maintenance on a power pole. Little did he know that a tragic accident was about to occur.

The Kiss of Life
Photo credit: “The Kiss of Life” by Rocco Morabito / Source

One of the workers, Randall G. Champion, was at the top of the pole when he accidentally touched one of the electric lines. In an instant, a powerful surge of electricity coursed through his body, rendering him unconscious. Although Champion was safely secured with his protective gear, his life was in grave danger.

J.D. Thompson, Champion’s colleague, was working on a different pole about 400 feet away. He quickly rushed to Champion’s side when he heard the cries for help. However, Thompson realized that he couldn’t perform CPR while Champion was suspended in the air. Time was running out, and he knew he had to act swiftly to save his coworker’s life.

With limited options, Thompson made a courageous decision. He sealed Champion’s mouth shut with his own and breathed life-giving air into his lungs. After a series of forceful chest compressions, Thompson detected a faint pulse. Knowing that Champion needed immediate medical attention, Thompson unfastened his colleague from the harness, slung him over his shoulder, and began the descent down the pole.

Upon reaching the ground, Thompson and another coworker administered CPR until paramedics arrived. Champion’s pulse grew stronger, and he started breathing on his own, although he remained partially conscious. It was a race against time, and the heroic actions of Thompson and his team made all the difference.

Rocco Morabito, the photographer who had initially stopped to capture images of the workers, realized the gravity of the situation. He used his car’s two-way radio to call for an ambulance. In that critical moment, Morabito snapped a powerful photo of Thompson giving Champion the “kiss of life.” The image quickly gained worldwide attention and was honored with the prestigious Pulitzer Prize 1968.

The Kiss of Life
Photo credit: Morabito with his Pulitzer Prize-winning photo / Source

Thanks to J.D. Thompson’s quick thinking and bravery, Randall G. Champion was given a second chance at life. Champion lived for another 35 years before passing away in 2002 at 64. Rocco Morabito, the photographer, sadly passed away in April 2009. At the time of writing this, J.D. Thompson, the hero of this remarkable story, was doing well.

The story of the courageous rescue in Jacksonville reminds us of the incredible bravery and selflessness of ordinary people who become heroes in extraordinary circumstances. The iconic photograph captured the essence of this heroic act, forever preserving the memory of those involved.

Feel free to share your thoughts and feelings with us in the comment section below.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here