MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) - It's a parent's worst nightmare: you're driving down the road one minute and the next, you notice your baby is in trouble.
That was the case for Kristin Lonsbury as she was driving down I-394 in September, her baby choking as they hurtled past Theodore Wirth Parkway.
“I pulled her out of her seat, I went over my passenger’s seat and pulled her out and her little arms just dropped to her sides and she was not there,” Lonsbury said.
Not long after that a nurse named Virginia Marsh drove up, running as fast as she could to help. Luckily, she felt a pulse.
“Kristin said, but ‘she's not breathing,’ and sure enough I looked and I didn’t see her taking any breaths," Marsh said. That's when I turned her over and just started doing the black blows she opened her eyes and took breaths.”
Along with Marsh, there was another hero there that day--Lt. Paul Stricker of the Minnesota State Patrol.
“She was dressed all in pink that day, so she stuck out like a beacon," Stricker said. "And I see Virginia holding her in her left arm, head down, and delivering back blows, so I knew that the baby was choking."
An ambulance arrived. Little Elise went to the emergency room while she was still unconscious, though with the help of everyone involved made a full recovery. Lonsbury says their family thinks about those two heroes with every milestone.
“We think about you two, every single one," she said. "She just laughed yesterday for the first time, and we will continue to be reminded of you guys."
“It's difficult with children. We see enough stuff on the road," Stricker said. "But when kids are involved it kind of gets you right in the heart. To be able to see her sitting here today, because Virginia stopped and started doing what she did, she's the real hero of this thing right here, she's the one that made this happen."
Lonsbury says the words Virginia uttered that day will stay with them always.
“You whispered to me, you said, ‘It wasn't her time yet.’ And it wasn't," Lonsbury said. "It wasn't her time and she has so much to do here, so, thank you."
Marsh and Lonsbury have kept in touch and are still friends, coming together Thursday to share their gratitude and a lifelong connection.
In fact, Lonsbury changed Elise’s middle name to Virginia.
Elise, meanwhile, has fully recovered and is expected to live a normal, healthy life.