Toddler reunited with officers who helped save him from near drowning

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 10:32 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Jamie Roge calls it one of the most tragic moments of her life.

She was on a walk with her kids and some friends in early September when her son, two-year-old Elijah ran off.

“I turned around and I just didn’t see him. All I found were his two little red shoes on the boat landing so I knew that’s where he went,” Roge said.

She ran toward the Chippewa river, eventually finding Elijah, blue in color, stuck on a tree branch and she started CPR immediately.

“Every breath I was blowing into him I could see color coming back into his body. I looked up and just saw an officer running and it made me feel like he was in good hands,” she said.

Sergeant Mike Major was one of the Eau Claire Police Department officers to arrive on scene.

“If that branch hadn’t been there it could have been a very different outcome,” he said. “This was one of those days where seconds count and they got there as quick as they could and started CPR so they did an amazing job.”

After a medically induced coma and a lengthy hospital stay, Elijah is starting to return to his rambunctious two-year-old self.

On Friday, Roge took her son to the police department to meet the officers who helped to save him.

“We started to get news in the coming days that he was doing well and better and better. I can’t tell you how good it feels to see Eli up and running around,” Sergeant Major said.

Officers treated Elijah to a tour of the police department, letting him sit in squad cars and play the lights and sirens. They celebrated his recovery with ice cream and gifted him his very own Paw Patrol police car. To finish off the special reunion, Elijah was paid a special visit by the Eau Claire Fire Department.

“It is a miracle. Every day he is getting better and stronger and back into a mission man. He has got fire in him. He is a fighter,” Roge said.

The incident won’t deter Elijah from the water. His mom said he is already asking to go boating and they plan to invest in professional swim lessons. She hopes families learn from them and take water safety seriously.

“We had the life jacket in the stroller we just hadn’t even made it to the river yet,” she said.

Roge said she is thankful to the police officers and also the community members supporting her family as Elijah continues to make a full recovery.

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