Support Salvation Army Wildfire Relief

Officer attends graduation of girl he rescued 18 years ago

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.
Officer Peter Getz and Jonsibel Aponte are seen together in two photos taken 18 years apart.

Officer Peter Getz and Jonsibel Aponte are seen together in two photos taken 18 years apart.

WILLIMANTIC, Conn. — It was a moment 18 years in the making. A police officer came to a college graduation to celebrate a great achievement in a life he saved all those years ago.

Josibel Aponte received her diploma from Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday, and it never would have been if not for the heroic actions of officer Peter Getz.

Aponte’s life nearly ended at age 5 when she was caught in a building fire at her uncle’s Hartford, Conn. apartment 18 years ago. Getz was at the scene and carried her from the blaze, but she was unresponsive. Getz got to to work performing CPR, and brought the little girl back from the brink, helping her to breathe again by the time they reached the hospital.

The two have kept in contact through the years. Getz, a father of two girls, kept in touch with Aponte, “just to make sure she was doing well” he told local news sources.

Aponte said she will never forget the day Getz saved her life.

“I almost died, but I was given a second chance at life,” she said.

So at Aponte’s college graduation, Getz was there. The two took a photo together, nearly two decades after the first photo taken of them together.

“There are only a few moments that are so important in life,” Aponte told the Hartford Courant. “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.”

The Hartford Police Department shared the photos on Facebook with the caption, “Remember that throwback of Retired Detective Peter Getz. She’s all grown up and just graduated from ECSU. Congratulations!! #‎HPDproud‬‪#‎HPDHELPS