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Chippendales dancer rescues girl

Visiting performer revived swimmer at local hotel

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 1:15 a.m. CST
Johnny Bell

ROCK FALLS – Johnny Bell, a guest at Days Inn, rescued a girl at the hotel's pool over the weekend, then he had to get ready for work – as a Chippendales dancer.

About 6:30 p.m. Saturday, Bell, 46, was weightlifting with a fellow dancer at the Rock Falls hotel when he saw some commotion through a window facing the indoor pool.

"I just recall hearing '911.' A bunch of kids were running around," said Bell, a personal trainer at a Beloit, Wis., gym.

Bell didn't immediately see what the problem was. A minute later, his friend told him that a girl was lying on the side of the pool.

Bell, who has been CPR-certified for 15 years, ran to the girl, who looked to be about 10. Another man was using an older CPR technique and breathing into her mouth.

Bell took over, using the chest compression method. After a minute or two, he said, water started trickling out of her mouth. She coughed. Her eyes opened.

Others came in, while Bell walked away. He reported at Champs Sports Bar and Grill in Sterling, where the dancers were booked to perform, about a half hour later.

"I didn't want to draw too much attention," Bell said. "I would have stuck around and talked with the paramedics, but we had to be at the bar by 7 o'clock."

When he was leaving the hotel, he saw that the authorities had arrived.

Later that night, Bell and three other dancers performed for a crowd of more than 300 at Champs, owner Denny Strader said.

"I thought it was cool that he saved someone's life," Strader said.

Rock Falls Fire Chief J.W. Larson said an ambulance took the girl to CGH Medical Center in Sterling. He declined to provide other details, except to confirm that bystanders performed CPR on the girl.

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