"Everybody keeps on saying I'm a hero," Zach acknowledged. "I'm going to keep that for the rest of my life."
At the height of the party, Zach, like most of the kids, was in the pool at the Galveston Elks Lodge. Suddenly a body slowly sinking in the water caught his attention.
He recalled, "She was floating upside down, and then when I picked her up, her lips were all purple. Then I pumped her chest."
Zach pumped the little girl's chest and freed her airway.
"She was small. She's only about three foot," Zach demonstrated. "I had her head and neck kind of up ... so her head was kind of (propped up). I had her body (in my other arm). But then she was out of the water, and I just put my knee up (under her body) and I just (compressed her chest with my hand) and water started to come out (of her mouth) and everything."
"I told him he did very good," said Zach's father, William Smothers, III. "I told him I'm glad, and we're all glad that he was there. He did a very good thing."
Zach is only 12 and certainly hasn't been trained in CPR, but he has seen it on TV. His mother once demonstrated the technique on a teddy bear.
"He finally learned something good from TV, instead of something bad," laughed his father.
That 'something good' made Zach's 12-year-old birthday unforgettable. We asked him what was the best birthday present he got.
"Saving her life," he answered. "That's what I liked the best."
The three-year-old's mother took her to the hospital after the incident. She was checked out and said to be doing very well.
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