Some people have a hard time separating work from pleasure. But for a Cherokee County firefighter and paramedic, it meant being in the right place to help save a little boy's life.
Joshua Ellis and his wife had just ordered dinner Saturday night at a restaurant overlooking a pool and beach in Destin, Fla., when they were startled by a woman banging on the windows and screaming.
Ellis told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution his first thought was that maybe the woman was locked out of her condo. But he said that when he walked outside, he realized the situation was much more serious.
"I just remember somebody saying something about their little boy being at the bottom of the pool and they couldn't swim," Ellis said. "He was just laying there and not moving."
For Ellis, there wasn't any decision to make. All of his years of training as both a firefighter and paramedic had prepared him to be ready for anything, he said. "I just dove in and got him off the bottom," Ellis said.
It didn't matter that he was fully dressed and had tennis shoes on.
Ellis said a man who said he was a retired paramedic from Kentucky offered to help, and Ellis handed him the boy, who wasn't breathing and had turned blue around his lips. The two men immediately went to work resuscitating the boy, alternating between chest compressions and CPR, Ellis said.
The first time they checked for a pulse, it was faint and irregular, Ellis said. The two repeated the CPR. "At that point, it was a really strong pulse," Ellis said.
With local emergency responders on the way to the resort, Ellis said he got the boy's heart and respiration rates to save paramedics time once the ambulance arrived. But he never got the boy's name, and still doesn't know it. The boy is from Montgomery.
Ellis said a police officer later called to tell him the boy was expected to make a full recovery.
Word of Ellis' heroics spread quickly. Still, he said, he only did what he was trained to do.
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