The story behind this photo.
From RareHistoricalPhotos.com: Taken in 1967 by Rocco Morabito, this photo called “The Kiss of Life” shows a utility worker named J.D. Thompson giving mouth-to-mouth to co-worker Randall G. Champion after he went unconscious following contact with a low voltage line. They had been performing routine maintenance when Champion brushed one of the low voltage lines at the very top of the utility pole. His safety harness prevented a fall, and Thompson, who had been ascending below him, quickly reached him and performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. He was unable to perform CPR given the circumstances, but continued breathing into Champion’s lungs until he felt a slight pulse, then unbuckled his harness and descended with him on his shoulder. Thompson and another worker administered CPR on the ground, and Champion was moderately revived by the time paramedics arrived, eventually making a full recovery.
What’s even more incredible is Champion not only survived this thanks to Thompson, but he lived an extra 35 years. He died in 2002 at 64 years old. Thompson is still alive today.
Rocco Morabito was driving on West 26th Street in July 1967 on another assignment when he saw Champion dangling from the pole. He called an ambulance and grabbed his camera. “I passed these men working and went on to my assignment”, says Morabito. “I took eight pictures at the strike. I thought I’d go back and see if I could find another picture”. But when Morabito gets back to the linemen, “I heard screaming. I looked up and I saw this man hanging down. Oh my God. I didn’t know what to do. I took a picture right quick. J.D. Thompson was running toward the pole. I went to my car and called an ambulance. I got back to the pole and J.D. was breathing into Champion. I backed off, way off until I hit a house and I couldn’t go any farther. I took another picture. Then I heard Thompson shouting down: He’s breathing!”.
Rocco Morabito won the 1968 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for “The Kiss of Life”.The photograph was published in newspapers around the world. Morabito, born in Port Chester, New York, moved to Florida when he was 5, and by age 10 was working as a newsboy, selling papers for the Jacksonville Journal. He served in World War II in the Army Air Forces as a ball-turret gunner on a B-17. After the war, he returned to the Jacksonville Journal and started his photography career shooting sporting events for the paper. He worked for the Journal for 42 years, 33 of them as a photographer, until retiring in 1982. Morabito died on April 5, 2009 while in hospice care.