But when Peter looked around, 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 drive them to the hospital.
On the way, Peter performed CPR on the girl in the back seat. When they arrived at the emergency room, she was breathing again. The girl was 5-year-old Josi Aponte, and Peter had just saved her life.
It has now been 18 years since that terrible day. Peter never forgot the little girl, and he continued to keep a close eye on her and her family. For many years after the fire, he kept abreast of how things went for them. He was always ready to help if they needed support, but since the family always did well, he never had to intervene.
Josi had no idea that the police officer kept a close eye on her and her mother. 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 five years old and almost died in the fire.
Then two years ago, Josi Googled his name and found a poignant 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. She found Peter on Facebook and began writing to him.
Josi and the now-retired police officer quickly formed 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,” she told Courant.com. “And it was because of Peter and all the authorities, everyone who came to help that day.”
When Josi graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University, Peter was on hand to congratulate her. It’s been 18 years since he saved her life, and Josi wouldn’t be here today 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 will always be the greatest hero in the world.
Watch the video below to hear Peter and Josi talk about that day and their reunion.
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