Heroes come in all shapes and sizes

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 29, 2002

The morning of May 15 began routinely for Brian and Jennifer Dantzler, of Georgiana, and their sons, Andrew and Michael.

Jennifer's mother, Deborah Whittle, came to stay with the boys while their parents were at work and the day was off to an uneventful start.

At around 10:30 a.m., however, something happened that would change forever the lives of everyone involved. The two boys were outside with their grandmother and Michael, 4, decided to go inside and then called for his grandmother.

Email newsletter signup

She walked inside to see what Michael wanted and immediately realized that Andrew had not followed her inside. She then sent Michael outside to get his brother.

Michael returned shortly and said he could not find Andrew. Whittle rushed outside where she found three-year-old Andrew floating in the four-foot-deep above-ground swimming pool and jumped in to save him.

She said her initial reaction was simply to get him out and get him breathing again. &uot;I just prayed God, just don't let him die.'&uot;

After pulling Andrew from the pool, she sent Michael inside to get the cordless telephone so she could call 911. As she waited, she began CPR on Andrew. She said she had never before performed CPR, but continued to do so until Michael returned with the phone.

Whittle called 911 and followed the instructions of the dispatcher. She then sent Michael to wait for the rescue squad and told him to let them know when they got there where to go. She said Michael did everything he was asked to do and was &uot;very brave.&uot;

E-911 Supervisor Janice Stamps took the call and said Whittle was upset when she called but calmed down and followed every instruction Stamps gave her. As Whittle spoke to the dispatcher, Andrew began to cough up water and come to.

&uot;She did a wonderful job,&uot; Stamps said. &uot;Had she not have been that calm, she would not have been able to help us at all.&uot;

Hornsby's Ambulance service responded to the call and arrived approximately four minutes after the child was found in the pool. Tammy Hornsby of the ambulance service said that paramedics responded to find the victim alert and oriented &uot;but sleepy.&uot; She said that when she received word that paramedics had been called to a possible drowning at the Dantzler residence, she was very worried.

&uot;We all know the family very well,&uot; she said. &uot;I asked them (the paramedics) if I should meet them there and they told me just to wait and meet them at the hospital.&uot;

Andrew was rushed to the emergency room at Georgiana Hospital where he became responsive and was able to talk with his grandmother. His mother said that &uot;his Granny&uot; is the only person in the emergency room he would respond to. However, Whittle said a nurse asked Andrew what was on his birthday cake, and he quietly responded &uot;ET.&uot; The nurse then said she felt that if he could remember what was on his cake, then he was okay.

He was admitted overnight for observation and oxygen, and his mother said he and his brother both received much more than that.

&uot;The hospital staff said there had never been that many visitors for one person,&uot; Dantzler said. &uot;They gave the boys all kinds of stuff. And everything Andrew got, Michael got too. Everybody was so proud of him for being so brave.&uot;

She said the boys were given stuffed animals, candy, coloring books and all sorts of goodies.

Heroic big brother Michael said he was glad he could help his little brother and he knows how to dial 9-1-1 even though &uot;I still don't know how to write good!&uot;

The family said they are very thankful to everyone involved in the incident and know they are very lucky that the outcome was so good. Dantzler said the boys have always known to be careful around water and she feels that Andrew probably got too close to the edge, lost his balance and fell into the pool.

She said the boys now tell anybody who will listen &uot;Don't go near the pool.&uot;