Peter Getz and Josibelk "Josi" Aponte's paths first crossed in 1998 during a very different time in both of their lives.
On this particular day, Peter was still working as a Hartford, CT, police officer and Josi was just a little girl, covered with ash, being carried from a fire to safety. Now, nearly 20 years later, the unlikely pair who first met through tragedy was reunited for a monumental occasion: Josi's college graduation.
Without Peter's quick thinking when Josi was 5 years old, this day wouldn't be possible. At the time of the accident, the apartment building where Josi and her uncle were living caught fire. By the time Hartford firefighters found Josi through the erupting flames and black smoke, the little girl didn't even have a pulse. Peter, who was a patrolman at the time, took the girl from firefighters, gave his keys to a colleague, and continued CPR in the back of his patrol car as they sped to the hospital. She began breathing just as they pulled up. Sadly, her uncle passed away from his injuries.
Since then, Peter has followed her progress throughout school, and when it came time for Josi to receive her diploma from Eastern Connecticut State University, she wanted Peter to be there. "There are only a few moments that are so important in life," Josi explained. "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."