Tampa, Fla. – Sit down and talk to JC Defeats, as his friends call him, and you will immediately see his humble nature.
Former US Air Force firefighter, and now Oldsmar firefighter and firefighter knows how to handle stressful situations.
He didn’t know he would be at the center of a person.
“That thing is huge. That thing is not a small mouse. It would be funny if it were a small animal,” JC said.
JC was attacked by what he believes to be a 12-foot alligator in Lake Thonotosassa on August 3.
He’s filming a how-to video for his company, DefeatX.
His friend accidentally caught a video of his drone being attacked from above.
“Then all he told me was he heard a scream, and then he had no idea what happened to me,” JC said.
JC said he knew almost immediately what was going on.
“With the right hit, all I felt was the scales, the teeth and then right there I felt fine. So what I thought I did, what I felt like I did, was I immediately tried to open its jaws because I knew I was in a gator,” said JC.
Call it instinct, luck or higher intervention, but JC put his hand in the dog’s mouth, and the two struggled.
“When I felt the tooth, I immediately knew, and when I opened it, I knew that I had rotated it or it had rotated me, but it was confused like I was confused, and then it just kept going. So let go,” said JC.
He swam to the pier, lifted himself, and was taken to the hospital by a kind Samaritan.
In the meantime, he personally called 911 and explained what had happened.
“I wouldn’t put more stress on someone driving a bloody man somewhere. Like if I could ease this woman’s burden,” JC said.
JC underwent a six-hour emergency surgery. He will need another surgery in the future and wear a helmet to protect the right half of his head.
He said he understands the lake is a dangerous place and usually takes precautions before entering the water, but that day he said he was in a hurry.
“This time, I was in such a hurry to finish the work just because I was so focused on completing the work that I forgot my swimming cap. I forgot my goggles,” said JC.
Through it all, he remains humble and grateful and has a message for those who may be struggling in their own lives.
“I’m totally fine. I’m actually even better because this has given me a new perspective, you know, and not a lot of people get it,” JC said.
“Find your God. Find Him. It’s silly. I understand it’s scary, I understand, but life is a scary place, so you can either carry it on your own or have someone carry it. it’s for you.”
The family created GofundMe to help with costs. To help, visit their GoFundMe here.