Weatherford Democrat

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September 19, 2013

Animal control officers, deputy honored for saving toddler’s life

Parker County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Supervisor Karen Kessler, Animal Control Officer Matt Anderson and sheriff’s Deputy Thomas Downs each received the Sheriff’s Meritorious Conduct Commendation on Wednesday.

The trio of officers received the award for their quick response and lifesaving efforts when responding to an emergency call between Weatherford and Springtown in early July.

They arrived on scene to find a frantic mother holding her lifeless 2-year-old son, who had accidentally fallen into a swimming pool. ACO Anderson took the child and handed him to ACO Supervisor Kessler. Kessler said the child was motionless and unresponsive. She immediately placed him on her shoulder and firmly patted his back until he began to show signs of life by coughing and vomiting, while Deputy Downs and Anderson calmed the mother.

Moments later, paramedics arrived on scene and treated the toddler while transporting him to a local hospital for further treatment.

Those involved said the child miraculously made a complete recovery.

Kessler said the officers were in the area responding to other calls when they heard the serious nature of the call, so they responded.

“We did what any person would do,” Kessler said. “It happened during the course of our duties.”

Kessler noted her team simply responded as they were instructed in emergency training.

“We are taught to keep calm and respond positively in all emergency situations,” Kessler said.

The boy and his parents visited the sheriff’s office Wednesday to observe the trio receive their awards and to thank them personally. Additional sheriff’s employees were present, congratulating them and the boy’s parents. The toddler hugged Kessler and gave high-fives to deputies and animal control staff.

Sheriff Larry Fowler said it brought him joy to see the happy youngster.

“I am very proud of my deputies and animal control officers,” Fowler said. “You couldn’t ask for a better team. Seeing that little boy smile today proves their training and effort are invaluable. Karen, Matt and Thomas deserved their commendations today. I was extremely proud to make the presentations.”

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