Harford, Conn. (WTIC/CNN) — When Josi Aponte graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University on Tuesday.
She had a big cheering section in the crowd at the XL Center. Josi said, “I was most happy when I would look up at the stands and I saw my family with the banner.”
Sitting with her family was an old friend – retired police detective Peter Getz. “Honestly it gave me a little bit of a chill,” said Getz.
Without Getz, Josi never would have made it to that stage. “It was very horrible but, here he is he saved me,” said Josi.
That horrible day was back in June of 1998. Josi was 5-years-old when her home on Washington Street in Hartford, Connecticut caught fire.
“The fire was so heavy they couldn’t see. They crawled and they found Josi and her cousin,” said Getz. Josi’s cousin died in the fire, she almost died too.
Getz said, “We’re a block and a half from the hospital. We’re not going to make 10 minutes for an ambulance to get there so we jumped in the back of the cruiser, did CPR on her, and when we got her to the emergency room she was somewhat back and the emergency room did their magic and bright her back.”
Josi spent the next month in several hospitals recovering. Getz came to visit. Josi said, “He got me this bear here. It still is the bear it’s very special to me.”
Getz said he always kept tabs on where she was in her schooling. But two years ago, Josi found him on her own – wanting to know the story behind this photo. Josi said, “I didn’t know what happened at all.”
They’ve kept in touch ever since. When she was getting ready for graduation, she knew Getz had to be there – a part of her story who helped get her to this day. Josi said, “He saved my life, he saved my life he’s a guardian angel to me.”
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