Leon Deputy Speaks Out About Saving 3 Week Old Baby's Life

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Posted at 10:47 PM, Jul 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-07 18:56:06-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - She's been fighting for her life...her whole life. Callie Mae, born in June, premature. She was hooked up to monitors and closely watched.

Then Thursday, at just three weeks old...Callie stops breathing after choking on formula.

"I was the closest unit so I responded in emergency mode," says Leon County Deputy Tyler Harrelson, who was the first on scene. "I got to the scene in three minutes. I began chest compressions, part of CPR with an infant, and after a few seconds of compression the infant started moving, trying to breathe on her own."

EMS arrived on scene, and took the infant to the hospital.

"We brought her into the back of the ambulance and did an evaluation, brought mom up to speed on what happened, what we are doing, why we're doing it, and safely transported the patient to the hospital," explains Leon County Paramedic Anthony Gorman. "If it wasn't for this officer, the kid probably wouldn't have had a chance."

Sheriff Walt McNeil credits the quick thinking, calm demeanor and successful training for the happy ending.

"Our deputies, EMS and the family and the mother of this child were able to work together to save the life of this 3 week old child and that speaks volumes about this community and about the job we collectively do in law enforcement to keep our community safe" expressed Sheriff McNeil.

But the most important 'thank you' didn't come from the sheriff, other law enforcement members, or the public.

"Sorry for crying but thank you for saving my baby!" says Callie's mother over the phone, talking with Deputy Harrelson.

"After it was all said and done, I was just happy the child was alive and breathing and she can spend more days with her mother," says Deputy Harrelson, "and that's what it really all comes down to, is we are out there to help people and help protect lives and save lives."

Deputy Harrelson has been on the job less than a year, and this was the first time he's had to put his CPR training to use.

The second deputy also hailed a hero, Deputy Vincent Surace, was unavailable for comment today.

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