updated 02/03/2010 AT 3:15 PM ET
•originally published 02/03/2010 AT 4:05 PM ET
It was a clear Thursday afternoon when Josh Duggar, the first of 19 children born to Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, looked out at the highway in Springdale, Ark., and watched in horror as three cars crashed.
“I went out to see what I could do,” says Josh, 21, whose family is featured on TLC’s 19 Kids and Counting reality show. “That’s when I saw the little girl.”
Six-year-old Maddye Plascensia was brought by her grandmother from the wreck into Josh’s nearby used car dealership.
Josh immediately called 911 and kept the dispatcher informed as his brother, John, 20, did CPR on the unresponsive child. Both young men have experience as volunteer firefighters in their hometown of Tontitown, Ark.
“Having a daughter of my own, I felt such a connection there,” says Josh, who is parent to 3-month-old Mackynzie with his wife, Anna, 21. “I was glad to have had some trauma training.”
Josh says all the credit goes to the Springdale, Ark., firefighters who arrived to continue working on little Maddye. “I could see the emotion in their eyes,” Josh says. “It was very serious.”
Maddye is now in stable condition at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock – the same hospital where Josh’s premature baby sister, Josie, is in intensive care. The Duggars met up with Maddye’s grateful family Tuesday night in a hospital lobby.
“They recognized us and were thanking us for Josh and John helping to save little Maddye’s life,” says Jim Bob. “I am so proud of my two oldest sons who responded so quickly in helping to save this little girl.”
He adds: “You pour your life into your children, and it was so encouraging that they had such a quick response and were ready to help. They made a difference.”
Josh says that he believes he and John were there to help. “I don’t believe in coincidences,” Josh says. “I think we were in the right place at the right time because God has a plan for Maddye’s life. I’m glad we were there.”