Saturday, October 4, 2003

Man applauded for saving girl

By Marie McCain
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MIAMI TWP. - No one knew how long the little girl floated face down before she was noticed that summer afternoon.

But Pete Updike went into emergency mode the moment his son pointed out the body in their Millbrook subdivision's pool.

Jumping in, Updike gently turned the child over. Her skin had a blue tinge and her body was limp.

Less than a minute later, after initiating CPR, Updike got the 3-year-old breathing again and watched as she coughed up water.

Nearly three months after his act of heroism, Updike will be honored today with the Heart Saver Award from the Clermont County division of the American Heart Association.

"I just did what anybody would have done," said the former volunteer firefighter, who now works in marketing and sales for a local consumer goods producer. "I think the real hero is my son (Kyle). He noticed her."

The award ceremony will precede the association's annual 5K Heart Walk along the Little Miami Scenic Trail. It begins at 10 a.m. and will start and end along the trail at Nisbet Park in Loveland, officials said.

Updike, 37, moved his family to this northwestern Clermont County township 18 months ago after transferring from Wisconsin.

Before that he lived in a number of states, including Iowa, where he served as a volunteer firefighter and worked with long-time friend Roger Heglund.

Heglund, a training officer/EMS director with the Newton, Iowa, fire department near Des Moines, nominated Updike.

Updike called Heglund soon after the July 6 incident, to reassure himself that he did everything correctly.

Heglund has worked as a regional faculty instructor with his area's American Heart Association for more than 25 years. When Updike was a firefighter, Heglund trained him in various life-saving techniques.

"Pete is a person who will do anything for anybody. And when somebody is in trouble like that, there is no hesitation on his part and that's why he enjoyed being a volunteer fireman," Heglund said.

The Heart Saver award honors recipients for their willingness to help others.

Parents of the little girl Updike saved did not want to comment.


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