GREENFIELD — Graduating from kindergarten is an achievement for any youngster, but Kolten Stratton did so Wednesday after a near-death experience days before the ceremony.
On Saturday afternoon, Kolten, 6, was pulled from the bottom of the pool in the Sawmill subdivision in Greenfield, where he had been swimming and enjoying the holiday weekend with his family.
A 16-year-old boy, Trey Taylor, is credited with saving his life.
Trey said he didn’t realize at first it was a child on the bottom of the pool. When he brought him up, he began to worry the boy wouldn’t make it.
“I didn’t know what to think at first because of how he gray he was,” Trey said. “I didn’t know how far along he was. I was thinking the worst.”
Kolten’s mother, Elizabeth Stratton, said her son can swim but had been using a pool toy to stay afloat minutes before he slipped off, went underwater and lost consciousness.
“He knew how to swim last summer, but he panicked when he fell off,” she said.
Stratton didn’t see her son go underwater. The pool was crowded, and she and her sister-in-law had a crew of children to watch.
“Her and I were constantly counting heads,” she said. “We’d just gotten done.”
Trey’s stepfather, Jason Ellis, was standing at the side of the pool and heard another child say the boy couldn’t swim.
Ellis scanned the bottom of the pool and saw the child, lying motionless under the water.
He called out to his stepson. At first, they thought Kolten might have just been playing.
“I said, ‘Go down there and get him,’” Ellis said.
When Trey brought the boy to the surface, it was clear something was wrong.
“He was limp,” Ellis said. “I don’t know how long he’d been down there.”
Another good Samaritan performed CPR on Kolten while the family waited for help to arrive.
Kolten had regained consciousness by the time emergency responders pulled up to the scene.
Kolten was treated at Hancock Regional Hospital then transferred to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, where he was kept for 24 hours for observation.
He was then discharged with a clean bill of health.
“He’s doing wonderful,” his mother said.
Trey’s mother, Casey Ellis, wrapped her arms around her son when she found out later that evening what he’d done.
“I am like the proudest mom ever,” she said. “I couldn’t even imagine if it was my child that was saved.”
R.J. Beaver, division chief of EMS for the Greenfield Fire Department, said Trey’s quick actions made all the difference.
“Mr. Taylor pretty much saved this little guy’s life,” he said.