LEE COUNTY, Fla. - A mother with her son, who nearly drowned while vacationing on Sanibel Island a few months ago, returned to Lee County to thank first responders for the role they played in saving the young boy.
An emotional Denise Proechel met the responders for the first time since her six-year-old son, Cal, drowned in a pool on March 31st of this year. Cal was brought back to life and has since made a full recovery.
Responders from Sanibel PD, Sanibel Fire, Lee County EMS, and Dispatch attended the casual meeting. "They all should be able to see Cal and how well that he's done and that he's a normal six-year-old boy," said Denise Proechel.
Officer Robert Feliciano was the first one on scene. "My first impression was, when I first saw him was...it didn't look good," said Feliciano.
Proechel credits a rapid response time by police and firefighters for saving Cal's life. All responding units happened to be nearby. "We were on our way to go get food and we were right around the corner so we just diverted down there," said Sanibel Fire Captain Tom Tracy. "Everything fell right into place, perfectly after that."
As young as he is, Proechel said her son does not know how serious his condition was. Captain Tracy said it could have easily gone the other way, and to see Cal is a blessing.
"We don't get to see this very often, in fact, it's very rare and I have always said I could end my career on a high note...it just means that much," said Tracy.
For Proechel, the reality which Cal does not yet understand is almost too much to bear. But, she's grateful for the simple fact that Cal is still alive