City Honors Teen, School Employee for Saving A Life

Brandon Neilson and Sam Medina draw thunderous ovation inside City Hall as they stand alongside the man they saved from drowning at Santa Margarita Catholic High.

Standing ovations are rare at City Hall, and city council meetings rarely draw a standing room only crowd. However, that was the case on Wednesday as the Rancho Santa Margarita City Council honored a local teen and a Santa Margarita Catholic High employee for their joint effort in saving a man from drowning in the campus pool.

In December, Mission Viejo High student Brandon Neilsen, 16, and SMCHS employee Samuel Medina , another Santa Margarita Catholic High worker, who had fallen into the high school’s pool.

Mendoza didn’t know how to swim.

Brandon dove into the pool and fished out Mendoza from the bottom and pulled him to the pool deck, where Medina began resuscitative efforts.

  • Sign up to receive the daily Patch newsletter, or follow RSM Patch on Facebook and Twitter.
  • If you're a business owner or manager, claim the free listing for your business here.

Beall praised them both for their “heroic, unselfish and quick actions.”

Wearing a blue and gold tie—Santa Margarita Catholic colors—Mendoza, who attended with his wife and four daughters, thanked Brandon and Medina for what they had done.

“Otherwise," Mendoza said, "I wouldn’t be here.” 

He added, drawing laughter from the audience, “God doesn’t want me up there yet."

In the standing-room only council chambers, family, friends and well-wishers gave Nielsen and Medina standing ovations for their efforts.

Marci Sparks March 16, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Good news is always welcome. Great job Brandon! Thank you for covering the story Martin.
Barbara Bell March 16, 2012 at 03:08 PM
Martin Henderson March 16, 2012 at 06:03 PM
John Crandall covered this story, although I had the good fortune to write about it originally. It's one of my favorite stories in the 14 months or so that Patch has been around. Everybody should give Brandon and Sam an attaboy, not only for pulling Jose out of the pool, but knowing how to administer CPR. You never know when you can be a hero, too.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »