Girard officials recognize officer for helping save child

Staff photo / Bob Coupland Girard police officer JJ Silverman, right, was honored Tuesday for saving the life of a young boy on May 23 who had fallen into a pond. Silverman was the first on the scene. Firefighters also were praised for their efforts.

GIRARD — City officials honored Girard police officer JJ Silverman for his life-saving efforts in helping to save a young child who fell into a pond last week.

Mayor Mark Zuppo presented a commendation to Silverman at Tuesday’s council meeting, noting he was the first on the scene. Silverman responded May 23 to a call at a home in the 300 block of East Wilson in reference to a 1-year boy not breathing.

Silverman was first on the scene and found the toddler inside the home with his parents and began life-saving measures. Zuppo said the child was soon breathing again.

Firefighters arrived on the scene shortly after and took over evaluating the child, who was transported to Akron Children’s Hospital.

Zuppo said Silverman’s actions saved the life of the toddler. Silverman said the situation was a team effort with the firefighters also helping at the scene after he arrived a few seconds before them.

He said the toddler’s father was also to be praised for getting the child out of the water. Officials said the child has recovered.

Safety / Service Director Sal Ponzio said teamwork from police and fire helped save the child’s life.

“Seven years ago, I was looking for somewhere to start my full-time police career and the Girard community took me in and I have been here ever since. I appreciate that,” Silverman said.

Zuppo said making the presentation to recognize Silverman was one of his best moments since becoming mayor in January.


City officials said they plan to look at updating the city’s zoning codes to require protective fencing be placed around ponds on people’s properties.

“We need to add something to the zoning book so this does not happen again,” Zuppo said, noting no fencing is required now.

Councilwoman-at-Large Lily Martuccio, chair of the zoning committee, said she will hold a zoning meeting on the matter of ponds and proper protective fencing.

Officials said there are some properties with swimming pools that are also not fenced in that should also be addressed when updating the zoning code. One of the suggestions was allowing ponds only in backyards and requiring they have a fence around them.

Have an interesting story? Contact Bob Coupland by email at bcoupland@tribtoday.com. Follow us on X, formerly Twitter, @TribToday.


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