8-Year-Old Hero Saves Drowning Toddler

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    NEWSLETTERS

    He's not quite Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps, but an 8-year-old's decision to learn to swim this summer is medal-worthy.

    Jesus Lara was at his Plano apartment complex Friday when he noticed a toddler in the water.

    "I thought it was somebody trying to see how long they could go under water without breathing," he said.

    Jesus grabbed his goggles when saw the bubbles stop rising.

    8-Year-Old Saves Drowning Toddler

    [DFW] 8-Year-Old Saves Drowning Toddler
    Eight-year-old Jesus Lara will be honored by the Plano Fire Department for saving a toddler from drowning.

    "I could tell that he was not breathing, so I knew I had to do something," he said.

    There were adults around the pool, but none were in the water. It was noisy because a party was going on, and Jesus knew time was critical.

    "I was like, 'I got to do something,'" he said. "I grabbed a quick breath, and I went under water. I scooped him up."

    With the 21-month-old in his arms, he screamed for his father, and adults came running.

    "When I turned around he was calling my name," said Henry Lara, Jesus' father. "He already had the baby above water."

    The toddler's skin tone had turned blue, and he was bloated and unresponsive. Adults started CPR and called paramedics.

    Lara said he saw his son call on faith for help.

    "I looked up at him 10 seconds later, [and] he was actually kneeling on the ground, on the concrete praying. He was praying," said.

    By the time paramedics arrived, the boy was breathing on his own again.

    Firefighters credit Jesus' quick decision to dive and rescue the boy himself as saving critical seconds -- and the toddler's life.

    "Think back to being 8," Plano Fire Capt. Peggy Harrell said. "Who knows? I don't know that I would have had that thought process. Imagine... his heart thumping at that moment."

    Lara said his son showed him the meaning of courage and bravery in a matter of seconds, quite an accomplishment for a kid who only learned to swim in the last couple of months.

    Plano's fire department will honor Jesus' heroism with a special ceremony this week. He'll also get a private meeting with the little boy he saved and his family.

    Jesus says perhaps he'll be a lifeguard someday; he's already shown a fearlessness and quick decisions in the water.

    "I feel really proud," he said. "Sometimes I don't know what to make a decision on, but this time, I made it just in time."