SPRING HILL, Kan. — A fast-acting police officer in Johnson County is now being called a hero.
Spring Hill Officer Austin Ashe saved the life of a young toddler who was choking on a hotdog last month.
Before a city council meeting Thursday, the officer was honored before his peers, friends and family. He was even presented with a life-saving ribbon from 3-year-old Silas.
“I appreciate the honor and recognition, but it’s part of my daily duties to respond to stuff like this and help the community,” Ashe said.
But it’s an action Silas’ mother says she will never be able to repay.
Today, Silas is just like any other 3-year-old, full of energy and without a care in the world. But four weeks ago, little Silas was fighting for his life.
“I was sitting right next to him. We were eating dinner in front of the TV, and he made a gasp sound, and he literally went limp,” Silas’ mother Heidi Ellis said.
It was May 13, around 6:40 p.m., when Silas’ mother would make a desperate call to 911. Within minutes, Ashe answered the call and sprang into action.
“There wasn’t any time to think. It wasn’t something I had time to think about. ‘Hey, what am I going to do in this situation?’ It was just a matter of pulling up to the situation and reacting,” Ashe said.
Ashe began administering back strikes to the child. After three strikes, he dislodged the food, and the toddler began to breathe and cry.
“The fact that he was there — he was an angel to my son. If he wasn’t there, I don’t know if we had him,” Ellis said.
The mayor of Spring Hill said Ashe’s quick-thinking is a testament to the uniform he wears. But if you ask officer Ashe, he humbly responds he’s just doing his job.
But on Thursday, he got to meet a new friend who will thank him forever.
“Thank you, Officer Ashe,” little Silas said. See Silas and Ashe’s sweet reunion in the video player above.