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Port St. Lucie first responders on hand to watch girl they saved get baptized

By Ari Hait

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    PORT ST. LUCIE, Florida (WPBF) — Two sisters in Port St. Lucie celebrated their baptism over the weekend, and they did it with three special guests on hand: the first responders who saved one sister’s life eight years ago.

In December of 2016, Araceli Betancourt was 10 months old when she almost drowned in the family’s pool.

“There was nothing. She was purple,” said Araceli’s mother, Damaris Betancourt. “Her belly was very blown up. She wasn’t breathing.”

Damaris had stepped outside their home just to take some garbage to the curb.

In less than a minute, Araceli and her older sister, 2-year-old Elena, managed to pop the lock on the back door, and Araceli fell into the pool.

Elena couldn’t swim but put on her floaties and went in to save her sister.

“I didn’t know really know what to do, but I pushed off the steps over there. And I started doing this with my feet and doing this with my arms,” Elena said, demonstrating how she made her way to the middle of the pool where her sister was.

Elena was able to get Araceli and herself out of the pool.

That’s where Damaris found them.

She grabbed Araceli and ran to a neighbor for help.

That neighbor, along with Port St. Lucie police Officer Joseph Chamberlin and St. Lucie Fire District Captains Roman Garcia and Salomon Rincon, brought Araceli back to life.

Eight years later, the two girls told their parents they wanted to be baptized.

“I just asked mommy if I could get baptized, because I was really excited,” Araceli said.

Damaris and her husband enthusiastically agreed, and Damaris said she knew those three first responders needed to be there.

“They’re the people that actually physically saved her life,” Elena said. “And it just meant so much.”

“They gave her another life,” Damaris said. “She has another life. And I wanted them to be a part of them walking into a new life with God.”

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