5-year old helps save mother’s life

OKEECHOBEE — The Okeechobee County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) held a press conference on the morning of April 19 to recognize Anthony Mathieo Jr. for his role in helping save his mother’s life.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel E. Stephen speaks to reporters at a press conference held on April 19. From left to right, Sheriff Stephen (top left), Heather Dewberry (top center), Anthony Mathieo Sr. (top right), Madison Mathieo (bottom left), Brantley Mathieo (bottom center) and Anthony Mathieo Jr. (bottom right). Photo by Richard Marion.

On April 9 Anthony’s mother, Heather Dewberry, collapsed in the family’s kitchen. Dewberry stated that she had collapsed several times in the past and that doctors are unsure why.
Anthony saw his mother collapse, and immediately called his father, Anthony Mathieo Sr., and grandma with his mother’s cell phone. Mathieo Sr. was at work when he received the call.

“Normally Heather doesn’t call me when I’m at work, because I can’t usually answer it,” said Mr. Mathieo Sr., who works for Florida Power and Light. “My phone rang three times so I called her back and Anthony answered the phone and said his momma was asleep on the floor and wouldn’t wake up. I knew immediately right then she wasn’t asleep and I needed to call the ambulance.”

OCSO Deputy Ben Vuleta responded to the Mathieo residence and found Anthony with his two younger siblings, Brantley and Madison, along with their mother laying on the floor unresponsive. Deputy Vuleta was then able to bring their mother back from unconsciousness.

“Young Anthony was a big brother to his siblings and a darling son to his mother,” said Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel E. Stephen. “He was able to get medical attention that probably saved his mother’s life.

Sheriff Stephen stated that in his 32 years in law enforcement he can’t think of another person as young as Anthony who has stepped up the way he had to on April 9. Anthony was made a junior deputy by Sheriff Stephen and awarded a $100 gift certificate to Walmart.

Okeechobee County Sheriff Noel E. Stephen gives Anthony Mathieo Jr. a fist bump after making him a junior deputy. Photo by Richard Marion.

Heather said she was grateful Anthony was aware something was wrong and called for help.

“I actually broke down crying because not every parent goes through something like that,” said Mrs. Dewberry, “and not every parent wants their kid to deal with that. I’m so proud of him for what he did.”

Anthony’s father also shared that feeling of pride in his son.

“I’m happy that he made sure his mother was taken care of,” said Mathieo Sr. “If he hadn’t done what he done, I’m not sure what would’ve happened. He’s my buddy, I love him to death and I’m glad he took care of his mom.”

Reporters listen as Anthony Mathieo Sr. describes the phone call he received from his son shortly after he discovered his mother unresponsive on the kitchen floor. Photo by Richard Marion.

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