Utah Sergeant, 8-Year-Old Boy Mark 5-Year Anniversary After the Near-Drowning Rescue

By Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired Staff
Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.
September 3, 2021 Updated: September 3, 2021

A family’s distressing encounter turned out to be the life-changing moment that forged a unique bond between a Utah sergeant and a child.

Recently, Sgt. Chamberlin Neff of the Utah Highway Patrol celebrated the five-year anniversary with Coleman Ross, the child whom the officer saved from drowning back in 2016. The young boy made a full recovery and is now 8 years old.

“The actions of Coleman’s family and Sgt. Neff were extraordinary that day and the reason Coleman is here today,” the Utah Highway Patrol said in a social media statement.

Epoch Times Photo
Sgt. Chamberlin Neff of the Utah Highway Patrol with Coleman Ross. (Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol)

On July 12, 2016, Coleman, then 3 years old, had gone swimming in their pool at the Pineae Gardens Condos in Centerville with his family members. The family fun time soon turned distressing when Coleman “took his life vest off and drowned.”

The family members and onlookers managed to pull the boy from the pool, called 911, and rushed to try to resuscitate him with CPR.

Sgt. Neff, who was off duty at the time and heading home, realized that he was “not too far away” and decided to respond, the police department stated.

“Without a second thought, Sgt. Neff found himself at the home and continuing CPR on Coleman,” the department said.

Epoch Times Photo
Sgt. Neff and Coleman share a special bond since the rescue. (Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol)

The officer continued the fight to save little Coleman’s life until emergency responders got to the scene. The child was taken to the Primary Children’s Hospital, where he made a full recovery.

The Colemans and Sgt. Neff have remained close over the years. Celebrating their five-year-long bond on July 12, which they affectionately call “the Coleman Day,” Sgt. Neff noted that it is “the best moment of his career,” according to the police department.

Coleman’s mother, Annie Ross, had told ABC4 in an interview in 2016 that her young son’s rescue is hard to explain “scientifically.”

“[Doctors] estimate he was without oxygen from three minutes to as much as nine minutes… Scientifically, it’s not really explainable,” she said.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of Utah Highway Patrol)

Coleman now hopes to become a trooper himself one day to help others.

The proud mom shared with FOX 13 that Coleman has his own special way to honor his hero who saved his life that day.

“[Coleman] has a Highway Patrol hat that hangs above his bed and a Highway Patrol badge that he keeps in his little special box,” Ross said, adding that she doesn’t believe that it was by chance that Sgt. Neff responded, but rather believes it was fate.

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Epoch Inspired staff cover stories of hope that celebrate kindness, traditions, and triumph of the human spirit, offering valuable insights into life, culture, family and community, and nature.