A retired Hartford, CT, police officer recently attended the graduation of a girl he once helped rescue. Retired Det. Peter Getz was one of many who rescued a young girl from a Washington Street fire in 1998, reports WFSB.
The fire wreaked havoc on the life of then 5-year-old Josi Aponte, who said she still deals with physical and mental scars. Aponte said she lost a cousin that day and came within seconds of dying herself, had it not been for Getz.
Aponte said she always wondered about the man in the photograph, her so-called guardian angel. After a firefighter pulled her from the burning apartment, the mystery officer carried her tiny body to his squad car and performed CPR before taking her to the hospital.
In 2014, after years of wondering, Aponte said she looked her hero up on Facebook and sent him an email.
Getz, who retired after two decades of service with the department, said he was touched by the note and emailed Aponte his number and asked her to call.
Aponte said she and Getz became close and often meet for lunch. Their friendship blossomed even more on Tuesday when she graduated from Eastern Connecticut State University with an accounting degree.
After 18 years, a lot has changed. But during two life changing events, one thing remained the same.
"He was just there and that's what matters," Aponte said.