Mar 012011

A Phoenix general contractor who saved a 2-year-old boy after the child nearly drowned in June was awarded the Phoenix Police Medal of Lifesaving on Thursday.

Phillip Murphy, 53, has more than 35 years of experience with CPR and extensive training from his time with the Air Force and the Boy Scouts of America.

“You never expect the day is going to come when you’re going to use it,” Murphy said.

That day came on June 2.

Jason Fuller, 2, was in the backyard of his grandparents’ home and managed to bypass the pool’s alarm system. He was supposed to start swimming lessons the following day.

Minutes later, his grandmother found Jason at the bottom of the pool. The grandmother jumped in to pull Jason out. She tried CPR, but it didn’t work so she carried Jason across the street to Murphy’s home, desperate for help.

Murphy took action, starting CPR. His son called 911. Murphy continued with the CPR until paramedics arrived.

“It felt to me like it was 30 minutes,” Murphy said. “But it was probably more like two.”

Jason was rushed to a hospital in critical condition.

Jason’s mother, Rachael Fuller, was out of town. She received the phone call about her son.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I ever imagine it would be Jason,” she said. “I was scared. I always said it wouldn’t happen to me.”

She arrived at the hospital 11 hours later. Doctors told Fuller they would know Jason’s condition when he woke up.

“I prayed a lot that he wouldn’t wake up until I got there,” she said. “As I walked in the door he woke up . . . It was a miracle.”

Jason made a full recover, in large part because of Murphy’s efforts. Fuller is thankful Murphy was there.

“I can’t even look at him without crying sometimes,” she said about Murphy.

Rachael and Jason Fuller were there to see Phoenix Police Chief Jack Harris award Murphy the Medal of Lifesaving at his home on Thursday. Representatives of Boy Scouts of America also presented Murphy a leather-bound field book for his efforts.

Since the near-drowning, Jason has taken extensive private swimming lessons throughout the summer. His grandparents also installed a self-locking gate in their backyard.

Murphy said a gate is not always enough.

“We don’t give kids enough credit,” he said. “You’ve got to have your eyes on them and your hands on them.”

Rachael Fuller agreed and said, “If there’s a will, there’s a way, and they will find a way to get to what they want.”

“It’s more gratifying that one could ever imagine,” Murphy said. “(Jason’s) a good buddy of mine. We’re very proud to see him every day.”

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