‘He died on the beach, but you saved him’: Woman who saved teen from drowning hailed as hero

Around the South

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A woman is being called a hero after a near drowning at Chic’s Beach on Independence Day.

Shortly after noon, complete strangers rallied around a 17-year-old and pulled him from the water unconscious.

Stephanie Tessarzik, a pharmacist was on the beach with her daughter at the time, jumped into action.

“He did not have a heartbeat, he didn’t have a pulse and he was not breathing when they pulled him on to the beach,” said Tessarzik. “I administered CPR and he came to. He was still really disoriented but he had a good pulse and he was responsive.”

Beach police and paramedics arrived just a few minutes later and could be heard saying “he died on the beach, but you saved him.”

10 On Your Side’s Kiahnna Patterson saw the young boy taken away in an ambulance after a quick evaluation.

First responders called Tessarik a hero.

“It was amazing. His aunt came up and gave me a big hug and it was just the best feeling knowing that I helped save her nephew,” said Tessarzik.

She says she’s not surprised when she looked up and saw more people willing to help her.

“I think that is the type of support this community has. I wasn’t really surprised by that especially with recent events. I think that this community is just really strong,” she explained.

All this happened during a planned Beachtopia event.

You may remember, 10 tons of trash was left on the sand after the Memorial Day weekend Floatopia event.

Virginia Beach city leaders say they stepped up patrols on the beach for July 4. City leaders put out a dumpster, more port-o-potties, to encourage cleanliness.

Mayor Bobby Dyer said police have not reported anything major with the planned Beachtopia event.

Jody Letourneau lives in the area and said he’s impressed with the changes.

“If the city is going to do their part, we have to do ours,” said Letourneau.

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