Revived by CPR in a near drowning, 5-year-old Leo Klingler of Muskego was back in school two days later.
Leo was pulled from the bottom of a resistance pool at the Princeton Club in New Berlin at about 2:30 p.m. Feb. 12. Leo was blue. He was not breathing. His heart has stopped beating.
Two nurses who happened to be working out at the health club skillfully applied CPR. By the time paramedics arrived, Leo was awake and chatty.
On Tuesday, he was back in class at Hales Corners Lutheran School.
"He's great and doing very well," reported his thankful mother, Martha Fuerbringer, a Muskego native. Leo apparently is suffering no after-effects, she said. "He's so sweet, he wants to send cards to the nurses."
Leo himself received a bushel of cards from kindergartners at his school.
"They were love cards," said his mother. They wrote messages like "I love you" and "I'm glad you're OK."
The experience is almost unearthly.
"I see this awful image when it was happening, and he's doing so well now," his mother said.
She remembers seeing a child being pulled from the water, not immediately recognizing it was Leo. Horror quickly filled her heart.
"That's my little boy and he's dead," she remembers thinking. "It was awful, just awful."
Only moments before, she said she had been watching Leo in the small children's play area when her attention was distracted by her older son, 8, who wanted to go on the big slide, she said.
The boys' father was briefly in another part of the facility. She said she was trying to keep an eye on both of the boys. It was her first time at the club.
Leo wandered to the resistance pool. and fell in,
"They turned it into a lazy river," Fuerbringer said.
One of the rescuers said the water was nearly chest-high.
Mom, dad and son watched in horror as the nurses fought for Leo's life.
"They were going at it, They knew just what to do," Fuerbringer said.
It was a blessing that two professionals just happened to be in the club when Leo so desperately needed them, she said. Even though she had been certified in CPR years ago, she would have been hard-pressed to perform anywhere near as expertly as the nurses did, and that undoubtedly holds true for most people who know CPR, she said.
"God was there, he was really working," she said.
Andrew Haugen, president of the Princeton Club, said in a statement: “We are grateful for the members, staff and paramedics who helped in this rescue, they are all heroes.”
The nurses were Stacey Sparacino, who works on the cardiac floor at Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - St. Francis, and Debra Miller, a nurse at St. Luke's Medical Center and former emergency room nurse.
Both commented earlier on how relieved they were that the child revived.
“I’m just so thankful to God that this wasn’t his time,” Sparacino said. “Praise God,” Miller said she remembers thinking when the youngster showed the first signs of life.