Graduation is often a time to look back and reflect. To think about the people that have helped to get you where you are today. For Josi Aponte one of those people not only influenced her life, but saved it.
It was 18 years ago that former police officer Peter Getz received Aponte into his arms. Firefighters had just pulled her from a smoke filled apartment building. Getz was then left with a choice. Should he wait for an ambulance to come from the hospital, a mere block and a half away or should he drive her himself? In this case, his impatience saved her life.
While a fellow officer drove, Getz continued to give Aponte CPR in the back of the patrol car. By the time they arrived at the hospital, she was beginning to come around.
Then/Now. #HPDproud #HPDHELPS pic.twitter.com/CRTVgq8kY2
— D/C Foley (@LtFoley) May 18, 2016
Getz then gave control over to the hospital staff but did not give her away completely. He soon came to visit her as she recovered from third degree burns and smoke inhalation. He even brought young Aponte a teddy bear as a small comfort in the midst of her suffering.
As Aponte grew up many of the details of that tragic day were lost to her. It wasn’t until two years ago that she discovered the full story and sought out to find her hero.
Since reconnecting the two have remained in contact and when it came time for her college graduation this year Aponte wanted Getz there to support her.
And although the bear given to her in the hospital wasn’t at graduation, it does remain in her possession today. A small reminder of what she has had to overcome.