When he was awakened from his sleep at 2 a.m. to screaming, Marine Corps Sgt. Cody Leifheit didn’t know what to think. But, as a newer resident of the Lewiston, Idaho neighborhood, the recruiter knew it could have been anything.
Rushing To Help
However, when the sound continued, Leifheit knew he needed to investigate it further. So the Marine ran down the street toward a group of people gathered around a tree, where he saw 19-year-old Travis Kent hanging 25 feet in the air.
Kent’s roommate Austin Tow was already up in the tree trying to figure out how to save his friend when Leifheit scrambled up to give him a hand. Tow said, “Sergeant Leifheit was like Hercules climbing the tree.”
Tow had heard his friend talk about killing himself, but he did not think he would do it. Kent’s father killed himself when he was young, and his mom was a drug addict, leaving him in charge of his 14-year-old brother Dartanian.
Tow could not decide how to cut Kent down without harming him further when Leifheit said, “Hey, I’m a Marine, and I’m here to help your friend.” Leifheit put his right arm around the tree and his left around Kent to take the pressure off the rope allowing Tow to cut it. Immediately, Leifheit checked for a pulse and could not find it.
Saving A Life
He asked bystanders to call 911 and began chest compression on Kent while still in the tree. With Kent’s back on a branch, Leifheit continued until he got a pulse. But he kept losing it. He kept working until the first responders arrived. Using a ladder to reach them, an EMT checked for a pulse and did not find one.
Leifheit said, “No, he just had a heartbeat!” He kept doing chest compressions until Kent’s heartbeat and breathing came back. Leifheit and a firefighter carried Kent down the ladder and into an ambulance.
He was put in a medically induced coma for 48 hours. He woke from the coma and was able to walk out of the hospital alive. Dartanian was thankful Leigheit saved his brother’s life. “My brother is the closest thing I’ll ever have to a dad. By saving his life, Sergeant Leifheit practically saved mine.”
Leifheit’s commanding officer Maj. Sunk Kim said that his actions modeled those expected from a Marine.