Emotional reunion: Family thanks 15-year-old boy who saved their son from Lake Erie

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PAINESVILLE TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WJW) — A local teen is being called a hero after he helped rescue another teen from Lake Erie.

FOX 8 was there as the two teenagers and their families got to meet each other virtually for the first time since the rescue.

It was an emotional reunion via Zoom for the Morrison Family of Concord Township and the Conwell Family of Painesville Township.

Two families forever bonded after Shane Morrison jumped into Lake Erie to save Donovan Conwell’s life.

“I’m just overwhelmed, overcome with emotion,” cried Letra Conwell, mother.

“It is emotional. The fact that our families are connected in this way. The fact that my son did more than probably most adults would ever have thought to do,” added Erin Morrison, mother.

13-year-old Donovan, a Riverside Schools student, was hanging out with friends at Mentor Headlands Beach June 24 when he jumped into the water near the lighthouse.

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“The water just pulled me and I kept going with it.  My head just kept going underwater and I couldn’t breathe. I saw everyone lined up at the pier just staring at me. I went under and when I came back up, I saw Shane,” said Donovan.

15-year-old Shane, a St. Ignatius High School student, was hanging out with friends nearby.

“A couple of my friends saw him out there first. We didn’t know what he was doing. We tried to get his attention, but he didn’t respond.  fter that, I just jumped in and said call 911,” said Shane.

 Shane didn’t know Donovan but Shane didn’t think twice about trying to rescue him.

“It was scary because I didn’t know if I could hold him up for that long. I knew that if someone didn’t come soon, I was going down with him or I couldn’t help him anymore,” said Shane.

Shane managed to keep Donovan afloat for several minutes before a Coast Guard boat arrived. Donovan was slipping in and out of consciousness.

“We just want to know who called the Coast Guard directly, because the 911 call didn’t come to the Coast Guard until five to six minutes after they had already received the direct call,” said Eric Conwell, father.

Shane says it was one of his friends who made the call that ultimately resulted in the rescue.

“I am grateful to you, Shane. I am so thankful that you reacted the way you did. You risked your life,” cried Leta during the virtual reunion.

Donovan was taken to the hospital, treated, and released.

As for Shane, he says he was just doing the right thing.

“I just want to thank you for that. Especially what is going on in the world right now with humanity. You have restored that for a lot of people. Just being a good person and responding to another human being needing help.  I am forever grateful,” said Leta.

 The two families say they have plans to meet in-person in the coming weeks.

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