‘Definitely fate’: Michigan veteran catches baby thrown from burning apartment

| July 22, 2020


Phillip Blanks

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Dramatic cellphone video captured a Kalamazoo native as he caught a baby who was thrown from a burning apartment building in Arizona.

“It was definitely fate,” said Phillip Blanks.

Blanks made the rescue in Phoenix on July 2. The baby boy’s mom sacrificed her life to save his. She threw him out of the window of their burning apartment.

“Soon as I caught him, it was a divine moment,” said Blanks. “We looked each other in the eyes, and he had this new slate of life in him, new chance at life, like I’ll never forget that.”Phillip Blanks

Blanks credited the split-second decision to his training as a Marine and wide receiver for Kalamazoo Central High School.

“It was all an act of God,” said Blanks.

The veteran’s hometown community leaders rewarded him for his heroism.

“Heroes come in all shapes and sizes,” said Brian Menther, who is the managing partner of Kalamazoo Mortgage.

Kalamazoo Mortgage created a scholarship in Blanks’ name that the manager said will benefit all three of the city’s high schools. Kalamazoo’s mayor also praised Blanks for his selflessness with a proclamation.

“More than ever, we need more people like that,” said Menther.

As Blanks reflects on the dramatic video of the rescue, he said he’s reminded that in the absence of the baby’s mom is the presence of love for the little one and his surviving father and sister.

“We ended up becoming family,” said Blanks.

Source: ‘Definitely fate’: Michigan veteran catches baby thrown from burning apartment | WOODTV.com

Category: Veterans in the news

Comments (14)

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  1. chooee lee says:

    Well Done!

  2. 5th/77th FA says:

    BZ and Semper Fi Marine! “…His Wonders to behold.” Sympathies to the Family in the loss of the Mother. May the saved child make her sacrifice count for something.

    Had a friend/neighbor/landlord/mentor back in the mid 70s named Philip Blanks. WWII Marine Vet, did a little Island hopping “back in the day.” Him and his brother Jerry both, very quiet, unassuming, and laid back. Was in the Legion with them both. They ran a dairy farm that had been in the family since the early 1800s. Never did any hunting tho the property was in the midst of the prime Piedmont White Tail Deer Country. When questioned why they didn’t hunt, they both had replied, “I did enough killing back in the ’40s.”

    They would be very proud of this young man.

    • Twist says:

      My Grandfather said pretty much the same thing in regards to hunting. He was in the European theater and landed on D-Day, I can’t remember which wave he was in.

  3. 26Limabeans says:

    God bless the mother.

  4. The Other Whitey says:

    Awesome and heartbreaking all at once. Heartbreaking for the death of the mother, awesome for this hero saving the child.

  5. JarHead Pat says:

    SEMPER FI Brother..outstanding job well done..

  6. Thunderstixx says:

    Great job young man !!!
    Amazing strength and coordination !!!
    He earned his place in history, Gunny Ermey would be proud of his Marine !!!

  7. Skippy says:

    Awesome !!!!!!!!

  8. Right place and the right time for the grab. Great job Marine

  9. Slow Joe says:


    We need more people like Phillip Blanks.

  10. OWB says:

    Good job, Marine. Way to lead. You help bring faith in your generation.

    Condolences to the family of the blessed baby.

  11. HMCS(FMF) ret says:

    BZ Marine!