MILWAUKEE (WDJT/CNN) – A 14-year-old survivor of a near-drowning honored the man who died rescuing him over the weekend.
Daniel Rivera and his best friend Tony Bishop, also 14, were in Lake Michigan on Saturday when they got caught in a current.
Jesse Brock, 50, dove in to rescue the boys. He pulled out Daniel, but officials said when Brock went back in the water to rescue Tony, they were both pulled underwater. The two were later pronounced dead.
“They both passed, so it’s kind of hard for me,” Daniel said.
After being released from the hospital Sunday, Daniel said he’s forever thankful for Brock’s brave actions.
“He’s just a good person. I just want to say thanks,” he said.
"He saved my life. I just felt like it's not fair that he had to go. I didn't even know him, but he was a really good person."
On Tuesday, Brock’s family met with Daniel and his mother Johanna Molina on McKinley Beach. The two families hugged each other for the first time and honored Brock through a balloon release.
"He did all he can, and all these people that were here, nobody moved a finger, nobody even ran to the water, nobody helped. That tells a lot about a person," Molina said.
Brock is remembered as a loving family man, described as “one-in-a-million,” who always put himself last.
His family said they weren’t shocked by his heroic actions.
"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.
Brock’s family said he’d saved lives in another brave rescue 20 years before.
"He saved six people from a house fire, so he's always been this hero," Jamisha said.
“We’ll always remember him for what he’s done, from here, from a couple years ago when he did the same thing, we’ll always remember him for that.”
Daniel said he feels like Brock gave him a second chance.
"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," Molina said.
Jamisha said people can honor her dad by remembering that helping each other can go a long way.