Eighteen years ago, a police officer in Hartford, Connecticut, was photographed carrying an unconscious 5-year-old girl after she was pulled from a burning building. The dramatic image graced the front page of the local newspaper the next day. The officer seen in the photo is Peter Getz and his heroics that day saved the life of Josi Aponte. Getz said Aponte wasn’t breathing and didn’t have a pulse when firefighters handed her to him. “I took her from the firefighter and started CPR,” Getz recalled about the fateful day. Along with a recruit who drove, he rushed her to the hospital in his squad car. Aponte began breathing again just as they reached the hospital.
Almost two decades later, their story came full circle at a graduation ceremony and the Hartford Police Department posted then-and-now photos on Twitter and Facebook to mark the occasion.
— Brian Foley (@LtFoley) May 18, 2016
Aponte graduated from Eastern Connecticut University with magna cum laude honors. She invited Getz, who went on to become a detective and is now retired, to join her at the commencement ceremony because “I wanted to share my graduation with everyone who’s important to me, who have been there for me, and who helped me through tough times. I almost died,” Aponte said, “but I was given a second chance at life. And it was because of Peter and all the authorities, everyone who came to help that day.”
Getz, whose own children are just a little older than Aponte, kept tabs on her schooling over the years. “I followed her progress for years in the school system,” he said. “Just to make sure she was doing well.” He added that he was humbled by being asked to join Aponte at her graduation and said he always kept a copy of the dramatic newspaper photo on his desk throughout his career.
Read the full story at CNN.