Boy thanks 911 Dispatcher for saving his life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Boy thanks 911 Dispatcher for saving his life

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April 16, 2003

Colquitt County - They are the voices behind the emergency call. 9-1-1 dispatchers save lives everyday. Without dispatchers, a seven-year-old boy might not be alive today.

A swimming accident almost took seven-year-old Ryan Clifton's young life four years ago. The almost deadly swim started with pulling off his swimmies. He says, "And jumped in like my cousin did."

Unlike his cousin, Ryan didn't know how to swim. He adds, "I went to the bottom of the pool." He was underwater for at least five minutes. Ryan says, "I thought I was going to die."

Virginia Payne was a complete stranger to the Clifton family.  She's the Colquitt County 911 dispatcher who was coaching CPR over the phone with Ryan's aunt. Ryan's mother, Melissa Clifton, says, "They were telling her make sure his airway is open. He was already hard as a rock, he already deficated on hiself, eyes dialated and purple. They saved him and I was grateful and blessed for all these people."

This week is National Public Safety Appreciation Week. Payne is just one of the many emergency workers getting a pat on the back for saving lives. Payne says, "Sometimes you get calls of people not breathing, it's real stressful."

Success stories, like Ryan's, keep spirits up. Payne says, "I'm glad we could help and save him. It's a miracle you can save lives. It's something I never dreamed I would be able to do until I started working here."

And because of these emergency workers, Ryan can follow his dream too and get on with his life.  Ryan explains, "I know how to swim." Ryan was swimming again not even a month after almost drowning.

National Public Safety Appreciation Week ends Saturday.

posted at 6:47PM kathryn.simmons@walb.com