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Man who saved toddler's life humbled by experience

WTHR.com is the news leader for Indianapolis and Central Indiana. Get the best news, weather, sports and traffic information from Channel 13.
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Mary Milz
/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - Two-year-old Amaya Hess is recovering from surgery following last Friday's pitbull attack. Her family says her chance at life is possible because of a stranger who stopped to help. Jerry Ashlock is credited with saving the little girl's life.

Ashlock works for Conway Freight Central. He delivers freight, but last week he made a stop that changed his life.

"It was almost like a movie, it all happened so fast," he said.

Ashlock was driving down Belmont when he heard a woman screaming for help. "It was really heart-wrenching to see a child in that much distress," Ashlock said.

Amaya Hess had just been mauled by a pit bull. When Ashlock stopped to help, the little girl was not breathing. Ashlock relied on CPR skills learned years ago in the military. "I think the adrenalin kicked in and having that intense training kicked in."

Ashlock resuscitated Amaya not once but twice. "She began to give me a stutter and a cry which was music to my ears, but it seems like it was the longest six minutes of my life."

"Obviously we can't thank him enough," said a family member.

Amaya's family calls him a hero, but Ashlock says not at all. "If someone were to ask me if I did anything heroic, no, it wasn't me. It was God. I believe God was guiding my hands and heart the whole time."

Ashlock talks to what he now calls his "adopted" family daily and visited the hospital Wednesday. "I almost feel I have a calling."

His new cause is raising money for Amaya's trust fund. "I really want to help as much as possible, because she has a long life ahead of her, she's gonna need lots of surgery, reconstructive and unfortunately it's going to take some dollars to do that."

He says seeing Amaya fight for her life last week sent a clear message. "It's not all roses, but if you go through life with a smile, you've got an opportunity. If you're strong and you have your health you should move forward and do something positive to help another person."

To make a contribution:

Amaya Hess Trust Fund
Union Federal Bank
45 N. Pennsylvania Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317-269-4735

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