‘Because of You, I’m Still Here:’ Officer Reunites with Boy He Saved from Drowning 19 Years Prior

A brave police officer jumped into a pool and saved a boy from drowning. Nineteen years later, the young man arranged a surprise meeting to say thank you. 

A Columbus, Ohio Police officer got an unexpected visit from someone he hadn’t seen in almost two decades. When James Poole, a now-community liaison officer, saw a child in need, he didn’t think twice before acting.

The officer jumped into a swimming pool and pulled a youngster out of the deep water. That day, Poole saved Christopher Jones’ life. Their paths went separate ways, but Jones always hoped for a chance to say thank you.  

Police officer hugs a young man who he saved from drowning many years ago | Photo: Facebook/ColumbusPolice

In 2016, Jones was finally able to meet his hero. The special meeting was made possible after Jones recognized Poole’s name online. He saw the officer feature in a post made by the Columbus Division of Police’s Facebook page. 

Poole didn’t know Jones was planning a surprise encounter. The officer thought he was speaking to the press about his job. However, someone tapped on his shoulder and asked him a question.

It was Jones who approached the officer and said: “How are you doing, sir? Do you remember me?” When the officer could not recall who Jones was, the young man revealed his identity.

Jones stated: “In 1997, you pulled a 5-year-old out of a swimming pool.” Poole instantly remembered the incident, and the two embraced in a touching hug that said more than words could. 

Jones tried to explain how much it meant to him and even introduced the officer to someone special. Jones pointed at his daughter and said she would not be here if not for Poole’s actions.

Jones detailed the moment that almost cost him his life. He said: “My heart stopped. I had been under, I think, they told me for at least 15 or 20 minutes. Technically, I wasn’t still alive … because of you, I’m still here.” 


The officer expressed that he never imagined his actions from so many years ago would result in this. Poole said: “I never thought … somebody would thank me.”

Jones said he had never forgotten Poole’s name. He added: “Ever since that traumatic incident, I’ve always tried to meet him. I always tried to get in contact with him.”

The memorable moment between Jones and his “guardian angel” was shared online and amassed thousands of likes and hundreds of comments.

One netizen said the heartwarming story reminded them of “the immense dedication and sacrifices police officers make every day.” Another user added: “Well, I just broke down and cried! Go blue! This is what needs to be posted!”

Netizens react to a reunion between a police officer and the young man he saved from drowning many years ago | Photo: Facebook/ColumbusPolice

Officer Poole was not the only man in blue who got a surprise thank you after many years. A retired Gilbert police officer, David Bush, also received an unexpected visit. After 15 years, Ethan Wright and his mom, Amy, said thank you to Bush.

They expressed their gratitude during his retirement ceremony. The officer saved Ethan from domestic violence when he was a baby. The youngster always wanted an opportunity to tell him how much it meant. This year, he finally did, and Bush said it brought his law enforcement career full circle.

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