OKEECHOBEE COUNTY, Fla. -- When 5-year-old Anthony Mathieu discovered his mom unresponsive on the floor of their kitchen in Okeechobee County, he knew exactly what to do, which saved his mom’s life.
“I'm happy that my son made sure that my fiance was taken care of. Now he still has a mother because of what he’s done,” said his father, Anthony Mathieu Sr.
On April 9, Heather Dewberry woke up feeling lightheaded and nauseous.
“I ended up walking in the kitchen and next thing I know I woke up to this officer waking me up,” she said.
Anthony found his mom lying face down on the floor. He was home with his two younger siblings as well.
“It was terrible,” 5-year-old Anthony said. “She fell down in the kitchen when I was playing, watching a movie in my room.”
He used his mom’s cellphone to call his dad at work multiple times until he reached him. He also called his grandparents and kept an eye on his younger brother and sister.
When his dad called back, Anthony told him Dewberry was asleep on the floor. His dad immediately called 911 and started driving home.
“If he wouldn’t have done what he’d done, there’s no telling what could’ve happened,” Mathieu Sr. said. “I could’ve come home and found her still laying on the floor. I’m not sure.”
Before dad made it home, Okeechobee Sheriff’s Office Deputy Ben Vuleta arrived at the house.
“The child and his younger siblings both answered the door for me and brought me straight to the kitchen and stated that his mother was on the ground,” Vuleta said. “As soon as I got into the kitchen area, I saw the mother face down on the ground looking completely unresponsive.”
When Vuleta began to turn Dewberry over, she woke up. She was taken to the hospital, but doctors weren’t able to pinpoint what caused her to become unresponsive.
“It really spooked me because I’ve had these spells before and nobody knows what it is," Dewberry said.
She said she’s had these spells the last couple of years and the boy has been taught to use the phone to call for help. When Dewberry found out he did what he had learned and got her help, she got emotional.
“I actually broke down crying because not every parent goes through something like that and not every parent wants their child to deal with that because I don’t want him to deal with that, but I’m proud of him for what he did and I thank him so much for doing it," she said.
The Okeechobee Sheriff's Office is also proud of Anthony’s brave actions and honored him as junior deputy Thursday morning, presenting him a plaque for the Just Us Citation Youth Recognition Award. The sheriff also gifted the family a $100 gift card to Walmart.
“Very seldom can I think back and think of anybody younger or as young as Anthony to step up and do something like this,” Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel Steven said.
The boy was excited and thankful for the award, as were his parents.
“Ever since we talked about him coming to meet the sheriff, that’s all he’s talked about,” Dewberry said.
They’re all most thankful for the child’s heroism.
“Not every day do you see a 5-year-old do something like that, so it’s special and it means a lot to me,” Dewberry said.