Police officer Peter Getz was present when Josi Aponte received her diploma from Eastern Connecticut State University, U.S, last week, Huffington Post reports. He saved her life in 1998 when she was 5, by carrying her away from the fire and performing CPR on her in his patrol car as his partner rushed them to the hospital.
Getz had just arrived at a burning apartment building in Hartford, Connecticut, when a firefighter handed him a 5-year-old girl who was unresponsive and covered in ash. With no time to wait for an ambulance, Getz placed Aponte in the back seat of his patrol car.
He immediately began CPR. Aponte, who had been in cardiac arrest, was breathing on her own by the time they reached the emergency room. “I’m told that if he would have just waited a few more seconds for the ambulance to come in, I could have died,” Aponte later said.
Getz continued to visit her while she recovered in the hospital. He brought her a teddy bear the day after her uncle, who also was inside the burning apartment, died. When it was time for her graduation, Getz stood with her family and cheered her on.