A young man’s heroes

Braxton and his brother Brayden were also excited to share some cookies and hugs with the medical professionals that now mean so much to their family.

Braxton, 3, was excited to meet his heroes, whom he recognized with plaques.

Dawn and Seth Smith honor local paramedics Ryan Hagler and Sarah Walker for saving the life of their 3-year-old son, who nearly died while swimming.

A local family is thankful for the “heroes” that saved their young son’s life.

Dawn and Seth Smith, of Sciotoville, presented plaques honoring two Portsmouth Ambulance paramedics who saved their son from drowning.

Dawn explained that on July 8 she was outside swimming with her two young sons, Brayden, who is four, and Braxton, who is 3. She explained that the family had some towels hanging on the nearby fence. The mother had gotten out of the pool and was grabbing towels for his sons.

In just a moment, her world nearly changed. When she turned around, young Braxton was face down in the pool. Dawn remembers screaming in terror as her neighbors Billy Boggs and Brian McMullen came to help. Both performed CPR until paramedics Ryan Hagler and Sarah Walker arrived on the scene.

Hagler explained that he has been a paramedic for four years.

“I’ve found out that I really enjoy people and helping my community,” Hagler commented.

However, he never expected to find himself in such a situation he he did on that hot, summer day.

He remembers when the call came in to dispatch, saying that a child was drowning and the mother was frantic. Quickly, Hagler and Walker were on their way.

“It was the worst case scenario for someone in the medical field,” Hagler stated. “Nobody likes to work on children.”

Hagler stated that by the time he arrived at the home, the child was not breathing.

“It was chaos,” he remembers. “The mom was the most frantic I’ve seen a parent.”

Hagler and Walker worked fast, ventilating the young boy until he could breathe on his own. Then, young Braxton started crying, a cry that brought some relief to everyone who had gathered to help.

It was at that time, Hagler realized that the mother had been calling him by his first name, which seemed unusual since it is not on his shirt.

“To be honest, I was in patient treatment zone,” he explained.

However, soon Hagler noticed Braxton’s mother as a friend of his wife. Not only was he working to save a child but the child of someone he knew of someone who had grown up with his wife and gone to church camp with her.

“To me, I didn’t do anything I wouldn’t do for someone else’s child,” Hagler said.

Braxton was taken to Southern Ohio Medical Center and then sent to Children’s Hospital in Columbus. He was hospitalized for four days and released without any lasting injuries or deficits.

When Hagler found out that the Smith Family wanted to honor him, the hero said he felt humble, explaining that so often professionals in his field never find out what happens to a patient after they get to the hospital. In this case, he was just happy to know that Braxton was doing well.

“It’s just what I do, and I’m happy I can do it,” Hagler said about his job of saving lives.

Today, Dawn is also happy Hagler does what he does.

“Ryan and Sarah were amazing with Braxton. They will always be my baby’s heroes,” the mother stated. “Portsmouth Ambulance was great. All these people that had a part in this were amazing.”

Dawn added that she also plans on presented a plaque to the two neighbors that had rushed over to perform CPR on Braxton. She added that people started a prayer chain on Facebook for the toddler, saying that good worked through the excellent medical staff to take care of her child.

“We are thankful for everyone that prayed. He came out perfect,” the gracious and elated mom concluded.

In addition to plaques honoring the heroes that saved this young boy, Braxton and Brayden brought Hagler and Walker cookies and hugs.

Reach Nikki Blankenship at 740-353-3101 ext. 1931.