A retired Hartford detective attended the graduation of a little girl he rescued nearly 18 years ago.
In 1998, Peter Getz helped rescue 5-year-old Josi Aponte from her apartment on Washington Street after it went up in flames.
"I’m here and its all thanks to Peter," Aponte told NBC Connecticut.
Getz rushed the 5-year-old to the hospital in his own patrol car that day, doing CPR along the way while his partner was driving.
"I'm told that if he would have just waited a few more seconds for the ambulance to come in, I could have died," Aponte said.
Aponte’s cousin died days after the fire that broke out not long after the family moved to Connecticut from Venezuela. Aponte had 3rd degree burns and was in the hospital for a month. Getz visited her during her recovery and helped find support for her family.
"It's probably been 18 and a half years and it still sticks with me," Getz told NBC Connecticut.
Now, Aponte wanted to invite her hero to her college graduation from Eastern Connecticut State University. The ceremony was held at the XL Center in Hartford Tuesday night.
After doing a bit of “Facebook stalking,” Aponte found Getz and sent the invite. The day she got her diploma, she got a text from Getz in the morning asking her what kind of flowers she liked.
Aponte said she was "so happy" to see the man, who once delivered a teddy bear to her hospital, give her flowers on her graduation day.
The pair stay in touch regularly and Aponte said she hopes to get her Master's degree soon.