LIMA, Ohio -- Police Officer Eric Mericle II was being heralded as a hero Tuesday for saving the life of a 1-year-old boy the day before.
"When you do get to save someone and help someone this is the reason why I do my job," he said Tuesday.
Mericle will be awarded the Lima Police Department's lifesaving award at a later date for saving the life of the young child, Crew Gillette.
He was on patrol Monday morning in the 100 block of West Haller Street just finishing a call when a woman ran up to his car asking for help. She told him a baby was not breathing.
"I looked up and saw a lady on the porch holding a baby," he said.
Mericle called for an ambulance and ran to the porch. He took the child from the woman.
"When I turned the child over he appeared limp and lifeless. His face was starting to turn blue," Mericle said.
The veteran officer of 12 years did not panic and there was no way he was giving up. Mericle went on autopilot doing exactly what he was trained to do performing CPR.
"It just goes through your mind, God help me. Let me help the best I can," he said.
After about 20 chest compressions, the young boy made one gasp for air but stopped breathing again.
Mericle wasn't about to let him go.
"I just tried no mater what. It's a child. You try as hard as you can and not give up," he said.
With thoughts of his own children in the back of his mind, Mericle continued CPR. Moments later young Crew began gasping for air again and breathing.
Mericle felt some relief but wasn't sure of the outcome. The 34-year-old officer continued caring for the child while waiting for paramedics. The child was taken to the hospital and Mericle, who is a father of five children, worked the rest of his shift wondering about the child's fate.
He wanted and needed to know that the young child made it. But news was in short supply. By the time his shift was over and it was time for Mericle to leave he still had no information on the child's fate.
"I kept wondering all night," he said.
When Mericle arrived at work Tuesday morning his sergeant had the news he was waiting to hear, little Crew was expected to be fine. Crew was at Nationwide's Children Hospital in Columbus recovering but should be home soon.
For Mericle, that's all that matters. The award and accolades are nice but pale in comparison to the way it makes Mericle feel knowing he's the reason a young child was given a second chance at life.
"The child being fine. That's it. That's perfect. Hearing he was fine. That was the greatest feeling in the world," he said.
Copyright 2013 - The Lima News, Ohio
McClatchy-Tribune News Service