Aponte has a special place in her heart for retired Hartford police detective Peter Getz, who stood with her, beaming as if she were his own child, in the XL Center Tuesday as she graduated magna cum laude from Eastern Connecticut State University.
"There are only a few moments that are so important in life," Aponte said. "I wanted to share my graduation with everyone who's important to me, who have been there for me, and who helped me through tough times."
Getz certainly fits that description: He first crossed paths with Aponte on June 25, 1998, a day the 23-year-old describes as the "best and worst day" of her life.
"I almost died, but I was given a second chance at life," she said. "And it was because of Peter and all the authorities, everyone who came to help that day."