BURNSVILLE, Minn. (KMSP) - It was a special meet-and-greet at Burnsville City Hall between 7-year-old Khloe Wainwright and the people who played a key role in saving her life after she nearly drowned on June 11, 2016.
She’s made a fast and full recovery, and on Tuesday, city leaders honored her heroes.
“There aren’t really words to say how grateful, how thankful I am,” said Tynichia Wainwright, Khloe’s mother. “I don’t want to cry, but I’m just grateful.”
If it weren’t for four strangers, Wainwright may not have her daughter by her side.
“She can’t be replaced,” Wainwright said. “I’m just grateful that they cared enough to help her.”
It was almost a year ago to the day Khloe nearly drowned at The Woods of Burnsville Apartments outdoor pool when she approached the edge of the pool and accidentally fell into the deep end.
“She was with a sibling’s mother,” Wainwright said. “She wanted to take the kids swimming, of course. She’s taken them before - never been a problem - so this happened and it was just like, ‘ugh,’ so now I just got tight grips on her.”
Among those who receive an Award of Valor from the Burnsville City Council for their life-saving efforts were 10-year-old Jo-Lan Evans and 15-year-old Jaqueline Montenegro.
“I had to go down there and save her,” Montenegro said.
Khloe, having been underwater for more than five minutes, was unconscious when Casey Gliem and Ryan Quinn began CPR.
Even though there were no signs of life, they continued.
Burnsville police officer Lauren Smith was driving nearby when she heard the call and headed over. She began chest compressions until another officer arrived and took over. Paramedics arrived and determined that Khloe still had a pulse. Rescue breathing was then continued by Sergeant Steve Stoler until the ambulance arrived.
“I started doing chest compressions right away,” Gleim said. “Ultimately, the work we did together ended up saving her life.”
“It’s human nature; you have to help,” Quinn added. “Otherwise she wouldn’t be here.”
Khloe took a moment Tuesday night to thank her heroes.
“I want them to know that me, my mom and my other family members, we’re really thankful for them and for what they’ve done,” she said.
The police and EMT who played a role in saving Khloe's life also received recognition Tuesday. All seven responders earned a "Life-Saving Award."
Khloe and her mom plan to take swimming lessons so they can head to Florida and play with the dolphins.