What started as a normal children's birthday party at a local hotel ended in near tragedy; luckily a hero was within reach.
It happened Saturday afternoon at the AmericInn near North 27th and I-80. A couple dozen kids under the age of 12 were celebrating a birthday at the indoor pool when a mom noticed something in the water.
"I saw a dark spot like a square on the bottom of the pool and I was thinking that's a drain," LeAnn Holexa said.
After realizing that dark spot was actually a little girl, Holexa sprang into action, jumping into the water and pulling the 6–year–old to safety.
"When she was out of the water I was yelling help, for Guy," Holexa said.
"Getting my name yelled in that way I knew something was really wrong, it wasn't just 'Guy come help me,'" Lincoln Fire Capt. Guy Pinkman said.
Pinkman was off-duty and with his son who was at the party. He was at the right place at the right time.
"The girl at that time didn't have a pulse and was not breathing and was ashen in color, blue," Pinkman said. "I just started doing CPR on her."
Within a couple minutes, Pinkman says the girl started breathing again, and it wasn't a second too late. He says the few extra minutes it took for the emergency crew to arrive could've meant the girl's life.
"I just jump into the role that I'm used to being in but it did take a second or two, and after it was over it even took a few minutes to process what happened," Pinkman said.
Holexa and the little girl's parents are calling Pinkman a hero.
"No, that little girl is a hero if she's going to be okay," Pinkman said.
The girl's parents told Channel 8 Eyewitness News they are eternally grateful to Pinkman's heroic actions, and the 6-year-old is doing just fine. Her parents say she'll spend one more night in the hospital just for observational purposes.