CALUMET - Jason Aho was an everyday 10-year-old going to Wisconsin to visit a water park, and little did he know he would come home as a little hero.
Jason was on vacation with his grandparents Aug. 4 when the family stopped in Portage, Wis., to stay the night at a hotel. On their way to Wisconsin Dells, Jason hit the water early, visiting the hotel's pool to swim a bit.
"I wanted to go swimming in the pool," Jason said. "I noticed a little kid running around the pool."
Daily Mining Gazette/Stacey Kukkonen
Jason Aho, middle, his grandma Cindy Bezotte, left and his mother, Starr Wagner, are seen at their home in Calumet Monday. Aho is holding a cake congratulating him for saving a drowning child in Wisconsin.
Jason said he noticed the mother wasn't paying attention to the small child, that he estimated to be 1 and a half or 2 years old.
"He fell in," he said.
Cindy Bezotte, Jason's grandmother, said her grandson saw the boy slip and fall into the water.
"He went right to the bottom of the pool," she said.
That's when Jason took action. He swam over to the young boy and hoisted him out of the water, far above his own head.
"I was a few feet away," he said.
His first instinct was to save him.
"I knew I had to help him," Jason said.
Holding the small boy over his head, he paddled his feet in the water over to the exit steps. He said he knew the small boy may have drowned because no one was really watching him. Without a word, the boy's mother pulled the crying boy out of the water and walked away.
"After he got out, he was crying," he said.
Bezotte told Jason how proud he was. She, after all, had observed the entire incident and was proud her grandson sprung into action at the right moment. Jason said he remembered how fast the incident happened and said he's a good swimmer and that helped him get to the toddler so fast.
Jason and his grandma said they were shaken up after the incident.
"When your adrenaline kicks in and you realize what happened," Bezotte said, placing her hand over her chest. "The boy started crying and (Jason) walked him over the other side of the pool to his mom."
Jason, a fifth-grade student at the Public Schools of Calumet, Laurium & Keweenaw, said he wouldn't hesitate to help another person in need, especially after this incident. His mother, Starr Wagner, said she was impressed with his helpfulness.
"The whole family is proud of you," she said, looking at her son.