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Glendale police honor men who saved child's life

From left to right, Glendale Interim Police Chief Debora Black, Gene Lofton, John Perotta, Seth Gray (being held by Perotta), and mother Brittany Elizabeth Gray are shown during the ceremony. (Bob McClay/KTAR)

Two men who saved the life of a 3-year-old Glendale boy were hailed as heroes by the city on Wednesday.

The two men, Gene Lofton and John Peralta were recognized during a ceremony at Glendale Police Headquarters.

On Sept. 11, the two co-workers spotted Seth Gray in the pool as they made their rounds at the Ridgepoint Apartments where they work.

"I looked into the pool, and I saw Seth face down," said Lofton. "I just jumped in and pulled him out. John hopped over the fence and started doing CPR. That was it."

Seth told reporters that he went into the pool to get his Toy Story Woody doll.

"Woody was in the pool, so I was trying to save him," said Seth.

Brittany Elizabeth Gray, Seth's mother, said the family had only been living in the apartment for two days. Seth and his younger brother slipped out of the apartment while she was taking a nap with her kids.

"The gate to the pool was open, so they went in," said Gray. "They dropped his Woody doll into the pool, so he went in to get his younger brother out."

After the brother was out of the pool, Gray said Seth went back into the pool after the doll.

"That's when he got scared, and that's when they found him," she said.

Gray, whose husband is in the military and deployed overseas, said she is grateful for Lofton and Peralta.

"There's not enough words in the dictionary to express how our family feels in gratitude," said Gray. "There's nothing we could ever do, but we're eternally grateful."

Police said there is a chance that Gray may be charged with neglect.

Gray said she's been told that she could face charges and has hired an attorney.

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About the Author


Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I am married to my wife Rene', who is a librarian in the Washington school district. During free time, I may be found playing basketball in the driveway with my son, Devin. He's also keeping me busy with school, Little League, and playing in chess tournaments around the Valley.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: Doug Oldham gospel concert in the 1970s at the old East High School in Phoenix.

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Northern Hills Community Church in Phoenix. We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.

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