By the time Ravnik and Arnik Kler arrived at school the day after what is now being called the miraculous event, the Ironhouse Elementary School siblings were already being hailed as local heroes.
As soon as we heard what had happened, we made an announcement to the whole school, said Ironhouse Principal Michele Gaudinier. We are so proud of them. That they had the presence of mind to react in the kind of situation that they did is just miraculous.
On June 4, while taking a walk around their neighborhood off Frank Hengel Way in Oakley, Ravnik, 9, and Arnik, 7, were strolling past a manmade pond when Arnik spotted a toddler flailing her arms in the water.
Arnik got the attention of Ravnik, who immediately sprinted to the nearby park and flagged down two teens, B.J. and Heidi Viola, and explained the situation.
The teens came back to the pond with Arnik and Ravnik, took one look into the water and ran to flag down 20- year-old Shane Webber of Bethel Island, who, as luck would have it, was passing by. Webber had never been on Frank Hengel Way before, but had turned onto it from Cypress Road to avoid a train.
When the kids flagged him down and explained what was happening, Webber jumped out of his truck, pulled the little girl out of the water, and with no formal training, began administering CPR. By the time the police and fire department arrived, the little girl was fine.
According to police reports, the toddler, whose name was not released, was being watched in her nearby home by her grandparents and got out, wandered around and fell into the pond.
I was kind of scared at first when I saw the girl, said Arnik, but then when he (Webber) jumped in and saved the girl, it felt really good. I felt proud.
So did Gaudinier, who not only announced the Klers' heroics to the whole student body, but conferred on them honorary principal awards and certificates for their bravery and grace under pressure.
We made a big deal out of it at school, because it is (a big deal), said Gaudinier. We are so thrilled for them. They are true heroes.
Arnik and Ravnik's mom Jitender agrees. Whenever I think about it, I have tears in my eyes, she said. Everyone did such a good job.
The miracle is that everyone was in the right place at the right time. They're all great, good kids.