Teen survivor of near-drowning on McKinley Beach speaks out about the man who saved him

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A 14-year-old survivor of a near-drowning at McKinley Beach on Saturday is speaking out to thank his hero.

The 50-year-old man died trying to save two teens from the water, one of the teens died. The Milwaukee County Sheriff's Office was called to the beach at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday. Deputies say two 14-year-old boys went in the water and ended up getting caught in a current. That’s when Jesse Brock went in the water to rescue them.

“They both passed so it’s kind of hard for me,” said survivor Daniel Rivera, as tears rolled down his face. “He’s just a good person—I just want to say thanks.”

Rivera says he’s forever thankful for Jesse Brock’s brave actions.

“I’m just so grateful that he was there to save my son’s life—to spare my son’s life,” cried Johanna Molina, Rivera’s mother.

Officials say when Brock went back in the water to rescue Rivera’s best friend, identified as 14-year-old Tony Bishop, they were both pulled underwater.

“He tried to save him, but he did all he can. All these people that were here and nobody moved a finger, nobody even ran to the water, nobody helped. That tells a lot about a person,” added Molina.

Tears were flowing on McKinley Beach as the two families hugged each other for the very first time Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 11. They honored Jesse Brock through a balloon release on the beach.

“He saved my life. I just felt like it’s not fair that he had to go, I don’t even know him but he’s a really good person,” said Rivera.

“I know he’s feeling kind of down about the whole situation, but our dad wouldn’t have it any other way to risk his life for that, so I’m pretty sure my dad is proud of his actions and so are we,” said Jamisha Brock, Jesse Brock’s daughter.

The Brock family isn’t shocked by Jesse’s heroic actions on the beach Saturday. They say more than 20 years ago, Jesse Brock rescued people from a fire.

“He saved six people from a house fire, so he’s always been this hero,” added Jamisha Brock.

Jesse Brock is remembered as a loving family man. He’s described by his daughter as ‘one in a million,’ and who always put himself last.

“We’ll always remember him for what he’s done, from here, from years ago when he did the same thing, we’ll always remember him for that,” said Jamisha Brock.

Rivera and his mother say Jesse Brock will forever be their angel.

“It’s hard for them and I didn’t know, but it’s hard for me because he saved my life and he gave me a second chance,” said Rivera.

“I can never repay them, like I can never change the situation but I am so grateful that my son Daniel is still alive today,” added Molina.

Jamisha Brock says if there was anything she would want people to do to honor her dad, it’s to remember while it may be hard, helping others will go a long way.

A GoFundMe has been set up to help pay for Brock's funeral services.

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