In 1998, fire completely destroyed an apartment building in Hartford, Connecticut. It was a total nightmare. The house was occupied by several families, some of whom had children.
Soon, police officers, emergency medical technicians, and firefighters arrived on the scene to try to save them. One of the officers was Peter Getz. When he entered the building, he was met by a terrible sight. He saw a 5-year-old girl lying on the floor lifeless and covered in soot and smoke. And without wasting a moment, he lifted her up and ran out of the house.
When Peter got outside, he didn’t see any ambulances. He was short on time and the girl wasn’t breathing. Peter hurried to his car and put her in the back seat. Then, he called over a colleague and asked him to rush them to the hospital.
On the way, Peter performed CPR on the girl. And by the time the police car arrived at the emergency room, the girl was breathing again. She was 5-year-old Josi Aponte and Peter had just saved her life.
2016 marked 18 years since that terrible day. Peter never forgot the little girl, and over the years, he has kept an eye on her and her mother. He has always been ready to help if they needed support, but since they’ve always done well, he has never needed to intervene.
Josi had no idea that the police officer was still looking out for her. But she still had the Teddy bear he had given her when she was in the hospital. As she grew older, Josi wanted to find out more about what happened that day when she was 5 years old and almost died in the fire.
Then in 2014, Josi googled the police officer and found a picture of Peter and her. As soon as she saw it, she knew she had to contact the man who saved her life all those years ago. So she found Peter on Facebook and began writing to him.
Josi and the now-retired police officer quickly forged a friendship. They often eat lunch together and Josi says she sees Peter as her guardian angel.
“I almost died, but I was given a second chance at life,” Josi told The Hartford Courant. “And it was because of Peter and all the authorities, everyone who came to help that day.”
In May 2016, Josi graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University and Peter was on hand to congratulate her. It had been 18 years since he saved her life, and Josi wouldn’t haven’t gotten there if it weren’t for him.
Peter has said in interviews that he was just doing his job when he saved Josi, and that he doesn’t deserve to be celebrated any more than other police officers and firefighters who save people every day. But for Josi, he’ll always be the greatest hero in the world.
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