- Associated Press - Saturday, December 13, 2014

FREMONT, Neb. (AP) - Two young Fremont brothers are being hailed as heroes for their quick action after their grandfather collapsed last month while babysitting them.

James Fittje, 7, and his younger brother, 6-year-old Andrew Fittje, were honored Tuesday with certificates of heroism issued by the Fremont City Council for helping their grandfather, who doctors said had had a seizure and has since recovered.

The boys were alone at their home with Joe Belchal, otherwise known as Grampy, on Nov. 18 when Belchal collapsed, the Fremont Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1Bsc4vf ).

“We got up and looked at him and kept on asking, Are you OK?” Andrew recalled.

But Belchal didn’t respond.

James remembered his mother telling him he would need to be able to call 911 if an emergency ever occurred.

“My heart was beating fast,” James said.

James quickly called 911, giving the emergency dispatcher his name and address. James and his brother then followed the dispatcher’s instructions to go outside to flag down responding crews.

“They asked for our first and last names and we told them,” James said. “They asked for Mom and Dad’s numbers, and I got out my piano book and it had their phone numbers on it.”

First responders couldn’t reach Ryan and Johanna Fittje. Both elementary school teachers, they were out of their regular classroom buildings and had their cellphones on silent while in meetings.

When Johanna returned home from work, she spotted the rescue squad driving away and a police car at her house.

Police told Johanna that her dad had been taken to the hospital, but then said how impressed he and other responders were by how well her children handled themselves.

In fact, officers were so impressed that they mentioned it to Lt. Shane Wimer, who said something to Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman.

“The mayor was so impressed, he felt that these boys should be recognized,” said Fremont Police Chief Jeff Elliott.


Information from: Fremont Tribune, https://www.fremontneb.com

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