In the summer of 1998, Officer Peter Getz had just arrived at the scene of a burning apartment building in Hartford, Connecticut, when two children were pulled from the engulfing in flames. A firefighter handed him a 5-year-old girl, Josi Aponte, who was unresponsive and covered in ash. She was in cardiac arrest. But ambulances were still a few minutes away and every second counted.
With no time to wait for an ambulance and the young girl’s life on the line, Getz rushed to his patrol car and placed Aponte in the back seat. He immediately began CPR while his partner drove the car to the hospital. It worked. Little Josi started breathing on her own before they reached the emergency room.
Getz continued to visit Aponte while she recovered in the hospital. He brought her a teddy bear the day after her uncle, who also was inside the burning apartment, succumbed to his injuries.
The hero officer told CNN that he “followed her progress for years” while Aponte was in school. They eventually lost touch when she and her family moved away.
Two years ago, Aponte reconnected with Getz after finding an online photo of him carrying her away from the fire. She sent him a message and they’ve kept in touch ever since.
“He saved me and he’s just walking out with me in his arms,” Aponte told reporters. “I’m so grateful for him because we always call him my guardian angel.”
When it was time for Aponte’s graduation, she invited Getz to stand with her family and cheer her on.
“I kind of choked up after getting her graduation invitation, she did really good,” Getz told Inside Edition.
From all of us in Tabooya, congratulations on your graduation, Josi. And to the hero officer: serve and protect is your job – staying close to her to make sure she was OK – makes you a hero. Well done!
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