Grandmother who saved boy’s life in near drowning almost didn’t go to pool

Melissa Sterner was planning to spend the afternoon either having pizza or at the pool.

“We couldn’t find it [the pool key] anywhere and I was about to give up and say let’s go to Chuck-E-Cheese instead,” she said.

Sterner said she had been at the pool less than five minutes before she heard a commotion.

It was then that 3-year-old Jack Fly was found floating in the pool unresponsive. Sterner began CPR and got him breathing.

Mt Juliet boy nearly drowned
Jack Fly is expected to make a full recovery after nearly drowning at a neighborhood pool.

“I heard the father yell, ‘Jack! Oh no, Jack!’ The mother turned around and started yelling. She dove in the pool.” Sterner recalled. “They started to do CPR, but I think they sort of panicked and froze, so I ran around and said, ‘Let me have him.’”

Sterner who knows CPR, has not been certified in years, but still was able to successfully resuscitate the young boy.

A married couple, who are a nurse and volunteer Mt. Juliet fire captain, heard the 911 call and also rushed to the pool from their home to help.

“We heard Willoughby Station and we both kind of perked up because it’s the neighborhood where we live,” Amy Allen said. “It said CPR was in progress on a 3-year-old down at the pool.”

When Allen and her husband got to the pool she took the boy from his mother’s arms.

“He was barely breathing,” Allen, a nurse, said. “I took him out of his mother’s arms and turned him on his side to help him get more water out of his lungs.”

Allen continued to work with Fly as her husband gave paramedics directions to the pool.

The boy was transported to Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. He was released Monday and is expected to make a full recovery.

Sterner said her son nearly drown years ago when he was also three years old.

Melissa Sterner
Melissa Sterner had only been at the pool about 5 minutes when the near drowning occurred.

“It was almost the same scenario. I dove in the pool, my ex-husband pulled him out and I had to do CPR on him,” she said. “I was just reliving that whole moment again.”

She continued, “For me it was survival mode. I just couldn’t let this little boy die.”

According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention,drowning is the leading cause of injury death among children one to four years of age.

The American Red Cross offers CPR certification classes. The classes only take a couple of hours and the certification is valid for two years.

“We hear stories all the time about people who have been trained in CPR and then use those skills to help out people they don’t even know,” American Red Cross Regional Communications Director Sarah Basel said. “We actually had someone who was CPR trained that saved someone’s life when they were in a restaurant and they didn’t know the person.”

Sterner said she plans to take a refresher course on CPR.

On Tuesday, Sterner was reunited with Jack and his family.

The family brought her a thank you cookie cake.

The families had never met, but coincidentally, they live just a few doors away from each other.

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