It was near dusk, close to 8 p.m., on Thursday, July 28, when Raeanna Fraser, of Rockport, pulled into the parking lot at Johnson Memorial Park with her husband and her 16-year-old son, so her son could jump into the pond and cool off after basketball practice.

They parked, put the windows down and that’s when her son saw people running to the boat dock at Chickawaukie Pond in Rockland.

“The first thing that came out of his mouth was ‘Mom, I think somebody is drowning,'” Fraser recalled, while sitting at a picnic table at Johnson Memorial Park Aug. 4, a week after the near-drowning.

When she first glanced over, she saw someone carrying what looked like a colored inflatable tube. Her husband, Scott, who could see more clearly out the passenger window, said “No – they just pulled someone from the water.”

“I opened the door and flew – I just ran down there,” Raeanna Fraser said. “They had literally just pulled him out.”

As a trained respiratory therapist with 27 years of experience, Fraser jumped in to help. As she was running across the gravel she yelled to people to call 911.

The child, whom Rockland police identified as a boy with special needs, had been seen floating in the water and was pulled out by a man visiting from Saudi Arabia.

The boy’s father’s girlfriend had taken the 9-year-old there to swim with other children, according to Detective Joel Neal of the Rockland Police Department. According to the girlfriend, she had put the boy in the car as she was getting ready to leave and was “chasing after” the boy’s younger brother to get him in the car. She told police that was when the older child left the vehicle without anyone seeing him, Neal said. The girlfriend told police she believes that was when he ran off the boat dock and into the water, Neal said. It is not known how long he was in the water, but they do not believe it was a long time, Neal said.

The boy was laid on the boat dock, and Fraser’s husband, Scott, tried to open his airway. She felt the child’s carotid and radial arteries and could not feel a pulse, she said, and his color was poor.

She began doing chest compressions, while the girlfriend of the boy’s father performed rescue breaths.

“I was impressed with her,” Fraser said, saying she could tell how close the woman was to the child, speaking to him and saying not to leave her in between giving him breaths.

Fraser said she never looked up from the child and really didn’t know what was going on around her. At one point, the wife of the Saudi Arabian man handed her the phone to talk to 911 and give them an exact location. She did compressions with one hand, while holding the phone with the other.

After two minutes, the child began to breathe a little – what Fraser described as “agonal breaths” – he was gasping – and water started to come out of his lungs, but he still had no pulse. She kept working, she said, knowing at least the ambulance was on its way.

By the third round of cardiopulmonary resuscitation, when Fraser placed her hand on the boy’s chest, she said she could feel his heart beating through it. It was a matter of five minutes, most likely, she said, but it felt like longer.

“If someone hadn’t done compressions within that first minute, there is no way he would have survived,” Fraser said, saying that in this instance, the child would not have made it if they had had to wait for the ambulance to arrive.

Rockland Emergency Medical Services responded to the call at the Route 17 location, which came in shortly after 8 p.m. When the boy was loaded into the ambulance he was not alert, Fraser said. She later was told that halfway to the hospital he was screaming.

“Screaming – that’s a good thing,” she said.

The child was transferred by ambulance to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport and then taken to Maine Medical Center in Portland for observation. Fraser said she was told he was released July 31, but his condition and his identity have not been released publicly by police.

Fraser’s job is to take care of people with respiratory health impairments. If there is someone who needs to be resuscitated at Pen Bay Medical Center, where she works, the respiratory therapist is called in. In her 27 years of work, she has never performed CPR in public.

“It’s usually in a hospital setting where everything is perfect,” she said.

Fraser said her husband was amazing during everything, helping to calm the girlfriend of the boy's father and the Saudi Arabian man's wife. She said the girlfriend thanked them both for all their help. She has not heard from the boy’s family, whose names have not been released by police. Fraser said she hopes the boy is doing well.

“To see him upright and walking would be nice after the way I saw him,” she said.

As a mother of two, ages 13 and 16, she said it has been tough – especially having it be a child involved.

“You think about it for days after,” she said. “You see the water and you just think about it – you’re always watching.”

Fraser credits the man from Saudi Arabia for looking and seeing the boy and jumping in after him.

“He’s the one who got him out in time,” she said. “If he hadn’t pulled him out when he did, he would have been under too long.”

The Saudi Arabian family, who asked not to be named, were in the area so their children, ages 16, 15, 12 and 8, could learn English at the Penobscot School on Gay Street in Rockland. The school is a nonprofit center for language learning and international exchange and the children learned English at the school over a three-week period, according to Executive Director Joan LeMole. The children had just completed the English course and the family was doing some tourist things before heading back to Saudi Arabia.

The family had asked LeMole where to go to for a park with a lake and she had mentioned a different park to them, closer to where they are renting in Camden.

“It was fortuitous that they ended up [at Chickawaukie],” LeMole said. “In our current political climate, Americans may make negative associations with Muslim cultures. But there is much to be garnered from remembering that everyone is human. Political and religious differences were put aside and boundaries erased when this [Saudi] family saw a boy in need and did what they had to do.”

The Rockland Police Department acknowledged both Fraser and the other good Samaritan for their life-saving efforts.

On Friday, Aug. 5, Chief Bruce Boucher and Deputy Chief Chris Young met with the man who entered the water and pulled the young boy out. He was presented with a letter of appreciation and a “Challenge Coin” for his action. He and his family wished to be anonymous and his wishes were honored by the department.

This award of a departmental “Challenge Coin" is given to acknowledge citizens and employees alike who commit an act of extraordinary kindness, or unselfishly give of themselves to help others, according to a release from the department.

On Monday, Aug. 8, Fraser was recognized. Officers Andrew Redden and Addison Cox recommended Fraser for the award.

“Today, more than ever before, our community’s first line of defense needs our citizens' willingness to become involved," Boucher said in a release from the department. "A safe community is not a spectator sport. Everyone needs to get involved. The City of Rockland is grateful that you were willing to get involved."

Fraser said she received a nice text message from her boss, who is currently away, after he heard about her actions.

“He said, ‘I heard you’re a hero – but I’ve always thought that.'”