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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Jones Pantaleon

Sunday Survival Story! Special Father's Day Edition!

This awesome survival story comes to us from a family who enrolled their child in ISR Self Rescue Swim lessons and their child is alive today because of that choice.

Please read what this mom, Cortney Holstege, wrote to her ISR Instructor, Michael Petrella, about her child's survival story.

Milo was taught ISR at 6 months old and again at 20 months. 2 months after his first refresher was the accident. He fell into my parents pool May 25, 2015. Memorial Day that year will forever be etched in my head. We were having a family get together at my moms, and outside in the backyard playing. My parents have a slide to their pool and my husband was letting Milo go down it and then catching him before he went into the water. Since the water was too cold to swim in at the time. He did this many times as Milo was having so much fun! Something we now both regret. After a couple hours playing we all went in to eat and let the kids calm down. At the time of the accident we were all chatting inside the house when we realized Milo wasn’t with us. There were 6 adults and 4 kids, except a kid was missing. We searched the entire house before realizing he got outside. Through 6 adults and a locked slider-he made it out with no one noticing. We found him face up floating in the deep end of the pool (10' deep). He was floating patiently for someone to come get him. My brother in law dove in to get him out of pure adrenaline. Once I got around to him he saw me and began to cry. He was scared and shaking. But he was fine, he was alive and he was safe. He was so scared but stayed so calm until he knew he could let it out. I look back at this picture and it does not bring me joy any longer. You see, this is the last picture we took as a family before the accident. This picture, had it not been for ISR, would be the last picture I would have ever taken of my first born son. This picture just makes me think of the what-ifs. What if he didn’t have training? What if we paid better attention? What if I didn’t sacrifice the time to bring him to ISR? I know what the results would have been had he not had this training. I know that sinking feeling of seeing your kid in the water. Knowing they got by you and snuck out. Knowing the absolute worst that would have happened to Milo, had he not been trained. He would not have been floating on his back waiting for us. This would have been the last family picture ever taken with him in it. He was 22 months old and hadn’t even had time to find out what his favorite color was. Almost 4 years later and he is an amazing big brother to Logan and Dawson - who is now the same age as Milo was at the time of the accident. He loves kindergarten and is learning to ride a bike without training wheels. He plays soccer, but TBall is his favorite. Also, his favorite color is green! Because of ISR, we have had so many more special and memorable moments with this beautiful child. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. Because you saved my child's life that day and you weren't even there. You are a blessing to our family.

Thank you, Cortney Holstege, for sharing this amazing survival story. We are so grateful that Milo had the skills he needed to save himself in the water!

For more information about ISR Self Rescue swim lessons, please visit

For more information on what to look for in your child's swim lessons, please visit

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