MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Tuesday was the first time a Richfield girl’s family was able to thank first responders for saving their daughter’s life.

On Dec. 9, 2012, a Richfield Police sergeant rescued two children from a swimming pool with the help of nearby neighbors.

A 6-year-old girl had fallen into the pool while playing in her grandmother’s back yard. Her 8-year-old cousin jumped in, trying to save her.

When Richfield Police Sgt. Dave Kromschroder showed up to the home on a wintry mid-December night, he had no idea he’d find a little girl unconscious in the deep end of the swimming pool.

“I credit the neighbors for helping,” he said Tuesday. “If they weren’t there, if there wasn’t some neighborhood involvement, things would’ve been very different.”

Kromschroder and the two quick-thinking neighbors were able to break down a section of a 6-foot fence to get the kids.

Kromschroder then jumped in to the 32 degree water, pulled the children out and began CPR on 6-year-old Naomi.

She was in critical condition for weeks, and now – three months later – she and her cousin, Ejnar Hewitt, have both made full recoveries.

The kids say they’ve also learned an important lesson about the work done by first responders and police officers.

“They don’t only take criminals to jail; they also help you and make sure you’re safe,” Ejnar said.

He says when he grows up he wants to be either a firefighter or a police officer.

And he can already add one title to his resume.

“He’s quite the hero,” Kromschroder said, “for going in after his cousin like he did.”

For his service, Kromschroder was given a medal Tuesday at an award ceremony at a Richfield City Council meeting.