NEW PORT RICHEY - Dimitri Kalogiannis isn't one for the spotlight, but apparently it keeps finding him. On Wednesday at the Eleanor Dempsey Performing Arts Center at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School, Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco awarded Kalogiannis a Citizen's Service Award plaque. He was one of two civilians, a handful of volunteers and law enforcement members honored during the Pasco County Sheriff's Office 2013 Second Quarter Swearing-In and Recognition Ceremony. It was Kalogiannis' quick action on June 16, 2012, that saved the life of a 14-month-old boy who was drowning in a canal behind his house.
Shy and almost reluctant to talk about the incident, Kalogiannis, 20, said he was just lucky to be there. "It's an honor, that's what it is," Kalogiannis said of the award. "It was an unfortunate event that happened. I'm just glad I was able to be there at that moment. I actually wasn't even going to be there that day. I was going to be in Tampa with my family. . I'm just glad I was able to help save that kid's life." Kevin Geddes, 40, was swinging his son over a canal in New Port Richey when they fell into the water, according to the sheriff's office. Kalogiannis, who lives on the opposite side of the canal, was standing in his neighbor's driveway working on the engine of a car. They heard screaming coming from the canal and sprinted between two homes to get to the murky, 8- to 10-foot waters. He said when they got to the scene, they saw women standing on a seawall screaming for help and his neighbor called 911. "At that point I decided I should jump in," Kalogiannis said. "At first we didn't know what was going on because the father wasn't helping the son. The son, his head was coming in and out of the water. He wasn't getting good oxygen at all. . I grabbed the son and then I just handed him off to the mother, and then at that point the police were already here and they revived the child." Geddes originally was charged with child abuse but entered a plea of guilty to a lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in January. Instead of finding Geddes guilty, Judge William Webb adjudicated his guilt and sentenced him to probation. This isn't Kalogiannis' first brush with the media spotlight. On a frigid January morning in 2010, the then-16-year-old teen emerged from Bayou Springs in Tarpon Springs holding the cross during the annual Greek Orthodox Epiphany festival. Those who come up with the cross are said to have a full year of luck. On Wednesday, Kalogiannis was awarded for his heroism. "The lethargic child was treated by emergency medical personnel," sheriff's spokesman Kevin Doll said as Kalogiannis received his award. "Luckily, the child survived and is well today." As Kalogiannis made his way to his seat inside the auditorium, the assembled crowd - dominated by law enforcement members and their families - stood and applauded. firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 371-1860 Twitter: @EDanielsTBO