GLENDALE, AZ - It takes just seconds to lose track of your kids around water. A lesson a quick-thinking neighbor learned first hand after saving a 1-year-old drowning victim.
That hero, Ray Espinoza of Glendale, was honored for his bravery.
"She's like my baby, my baby," recalls Espinoza.
He described the horrifying day on July 13th, when 1-year-old Nevaeh was found face down in the backyard swimming pool with no pulse and not breathing.
"So I grabbed her and started doing CPR," Espinoza said.
Espinoza, now 28 years old, was certified in CPR as a teenager. He said his lifesaving skills quickly kicked in to help the little girl whose name is Heaven spelled backwards.
"I knew she was going to be okay," Espinoza smiled.
He's Nevaeh's neighbor and was walking by the Glendale home several weeks ago when he heard the child's grandmother desperately screaming for help.
"It was just like an angel," said Nevaeh's grandmother Catherine Bruce. "He just took her out of my hands and he started to work on her."
As fate would have it, Espinoza's father couldn't drive him to work that day so he was walking to the bus stop.
"All I could is scream. Just uncontrollable scream," Bruce said.
Espinoza continued performing CPR until fire and ambulance crews arrived to assist him.
By the time Nevaeh was rushed to Phoenix Children's Hospital she was breathing on her own.
On Tuesday, Glendale Fire Department presented Espinoza with the Lifesaving Award for helping to save Nevaeh.
"I'm going to hang this up," Espinoza said while holding his certificate. "I think this is going to help me move on in life more."
An honor that rescue crews hope will teach others a life saving lesson.
"Make sure that you provide adult supervision any time a child is around water," urged Glendale Fire Department's Chris Dechant.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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