Ethan Riozzi-Bodine
Ethan Riozzi-Bodine

 By Christina Leslie | Staff Writer

A quick-thinking Catholic school student served as a modern-day Good Samaritan May 4 as he helped to save the life of a young girl. Ethan Riozzi-Bodine, a student at St. Rose School, Belmar, and his friend Taylor Davis kept 12-year-old Hannah Peters alive after she sustained a deep chest wound until paramedics arrived.

Peters, sitting with a friend along the Shark River that spring afternoon, had lost her footing as she rose to leave and fell forward onto a sharp rock which sliced open her chest, just missing her jugular vein and heart. The panicked youngster, bleeding profusely, tried to run home but encountered the two 14-year-old boys along the way.

“I saw her running and yelling for help,” said Riozzi-Bodine, who realized Peters’ flight would further endanger her. The long-time Boy Scout recalled his basic first aid training, telling the youngster to lie down as he took her pulse and held a rag tight to her chest while Davis ran for help.

“I knew it would get her heart rate up and more blood would be flowing if she ran home,” Riozzi-Bodine said. “A lot of it was reflex; we tried to calm her down and when I saw her chest I knew it was the real thing.”

The boys stayed with Peters, who is a member of St. Rose Parish, Belmar, until EMTs arrived and transported her to a local hospital.  Riozzi-Bodine’s consoling words to his injured friend and his direct pressure on her chest had kept her alive, he later learned: the wound, which measured seven inches long and three deep, took 20 stitches to close.

The two teens visited Peters at home the next day and were showered with gratitude by her family. “Her parents were very thankful and we were thankful, and my parents were very proud of me,” the soft-spoken Riozzi-Bodine said.

Riozzi-Bodine’s mother Elaine later recalled her son’s emotional recounting of the event once the crisis had passed. “After the ordeal, he tried to keep it together, [but] I knew when he came home he was in shock,” she said, then quoted her son. “Ethan told Hannah, ‘It was not that big of a deal,’ but Mom, I could see inside her chest!”

St. Rose School principal William Roberts recently expressed his admiration for Riozzi-Bodine’s level-headed selfless actions and noted the blend of faith and first aid in saving Peters’ life. “Our gospel teachings here at St. Rose Grammar School tell us to help those in need. We are so proud that Ethan lived this message and made such a significant difference for that little girl,” Roberts said. “Knowing Ethan as I do, I am not surprised that he was able to remain calm and to think clearly about what needed to be done. We are always pleased and proud when our students make a difference.”