Boy honored for saving grandmother's life

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealNery Pena talks about the day he saved his grandmother's life. Beverly Carson went into diabetic shock May 3 when she and Nery were home alone. He was honored as a hero by the Carson City Fire Department on Thursday.

Cathleen Allison/Nevada AppealNery Pena talks about the day he saved his grandmother's life. Beverly Carson went into diabetic shock May 3 when she and Nery were home alone. He was honored as a hero by the Carson City Fire Department on Thursday.

Nery Pena was calm Thursday as he retold the story of saving his Nana's life.

Some might say his nonchalance would only come in retrospect. But the 911 recording proves that the Fremont School fourth-grader was calm throughout the ordeal,

On Sunday, May 3, the morning after he'd stayed the night, he and grandmother Beverly Carson watched a little television.

A short time later, Carson, 67, said, she gave herself an insulin shot -- just like she has every day since being diagnosed with diabetes 10 years ago.

Forty-five minutes after her injection, she recalled, she began to feel ill. She decided to lay down.

Nery didn't think much about it at first, and he continued to watch television. After a bit, he went in to check on her.

"When I walked in there, she didn't look good. Her eyes were wide open and she was shaking," he recalled.

Nery touched his grandmother's hand.

"Nana, are you OK?" He shook her. "Speak to me. Say hello."

Nery's mother, Rhonda Pena, was at home across town with Nery's father and brother Jesse.

It was 9:30 a.m. Her phone rang. It was Nery.

"He said there was something wrong with Nana. He wanted to know what he should do and he told me what he saw," Rhonda said. She called out for her husband and Jesse to get into the car.

"I told Nery to get her glucose and to hang up with me and call 911," Rhonda said. "I was kind of in a little bit of a panic and I wanted (help) to know the right address. If he called from her phone, her address pops up on their computer."

Nery did as his mother said.

On the 911 recording, Nery's voice sounds younger than 10.

The dispatcher asked for the address. Nery said he didn't know it.

"I'm at my grandma's house and she's on her bed with her eyes open and I'm trying to talk to her and she's not answering back," he told dispatchers.

The dispatcher asked for the phone number. Nery rattled it off.

"I called my mom. She told me to call you guys," he said.

"Your grandmother, when you called her name, she didn't respond back to you?" the dispatcher asked.

"I said hi and ... and she's not responding at all," he said.

"Was she breathing? Could you hear her breath?" The dispatcher asked.

"I think I hear breathing. I can feel kind of some air coming out, but her arms are twitching and everything, and bubbles and saliva are coming out," he said.

Help arrived in minutes.

So did Carson's daughter.

"When I got there, Nery was standing at the door peeking out, and he said, 'Mom, she's in the bedroom, but I couldn't lift her up.'"

Paramedics began working on Carson, and it was then, Nery said, that he cried.

Later, the family would learn that Carson's blood sugar level had dipped to 20 " deemed critically low and life threatening. Doctors told her that without help, she would have been dead in 30 minutes.

"I just thank God that (Nery) was here and he did what he did," Carson said. "I told him, 'You're special because you saved Nana's life.'"

To prove that he was special, Beverly Carson called the fire department. On Thursday, in front of his class at Fremont, Assistant Fire Chief Tom Tarulli presented Nery with a certificate "for his lifesaving action to help his grandmother by calling 911." Nery was also presented with $20 in gift certificates from Baskin-Robbins.

The ice cream gift made his eyes light up even hours after the presentation.

"We are going to get some (ice cream) tonight!" he said.

Carson plans to get a service where she can push a button and have help on the way in case this happens again.

Nery said he plans to spend every weekend with his grandmother, since everyone is worried about her now.

If anything happened to his Nana, he said, he wouldn't know what to do.

"She's really, really important to me and my favorite member of the family," he explained.

Contact reporter F.T. Norton at ftnorton@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1213.

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