Jake Lemmon doesn’t remember much at all from the weeks following his serious auto accident last year. At the same time, he’ll never, ever forget.
The actions of those who saved his life, be it those on the scene of the accident, those who repaired him in the emergency room, or those who donated money for his family and blood to keep him alive all give him purpose today.
“I wouldn’t be here today if not for the love, support and prayers of this community,” Lemmon said. “It’s so hard to even explain, because you can’t describe the gratitude you have for everyone.”
The Luling attorney’s second lease on life comes after he was almost left for dead in the spring of 2019.
On the morning of the accident, Lemmon had just wrapped up a television interview to promote One Team, One Fight’s annual crawfish fundraiser for first responders. Driving his truck on his way back home, he was involved in a major collision near Lapalco Boulevard in Avondale.
“They couldn’t even tell what my vehicle was,” said Lemmon of the damage.
Armond Bourque, the president of the St. Charles Fraternal Fireman’s Association, was also on his way back home from the TV interview when he saw the accident fallout.
“He said he was reluctant to stop at first because it was Jefferson Parish (and not St. Charles) but something told him to stop,” Lemmon said. “He got out of his truck. The person I was involved in the accident with said he was fine … (Bourque was told) there was nothing you could do for the other driver. That’s how bad the damage was.”
Bourque took a closer look and recognized Lemmon’s tie from that morning. He called Lemmon’s name and Lemmon responded, though he was in shock.
“He told me to settle down. He cut me out of my truck and put me in the ambulance, and called my family,” Lemmon said. “If he hadn’t stopped that day, I would have died.”
As it turns out, Lemmon was just made aware of Bourque’s involvement during a chance meeting last month.
“I mean, being right in the middle of the pandemic … I couldn’t even go give him a hug to say, ‘I hope you realize how much I appreciate what you’ve done for me,’” Lemmon said. “Of course, he said ‘that’s what I do and that’s what I love, my job’ … he’s done that so much that it’s not a great big deal for him, but it’s certainly a great big deal for me. He’s my angel.”
Lemmon said he got emotional when he saw a flashback post on his Facebook page, noting a blood drive held for him last year just after his accident, one he previously was unaware of.
“People were even turned away from it,” Lemmon said. “The outpouring from the community for my family, for my kids … I couldn’t be there, and they were well taken care of. It makes me reflect and ask ‘Why me? Why was I saved?’ And you have to answer that, and whether there’s something bigger in you that you’re intended for.
“The first thing you ask is ‘How do I repay all these people? How can I be a better person or make the world a better place?’”
He’s not 100 percent health wise. He estimates he’ll need replacement surgery for both his knee and hip. He enjoyed a recent outing with his son to golf, noting he struggled through it but “it was good to get out.”
“But I’m alive,” Lemmon said. “Every day I’m able to be with my kids, my four boys, I count my blessings.”
The experience has only fortified his already strong belief in the cause of One Team, One Fight.
“They help people every single day, and we often just take that for granted,” Lemmon said. “To say, ‘well, that’s their job.’ It’s more of a calling. It’s a different makeup of people, who have such a special heart. They’re selfless.”