Tuscola County man meets baby he rescued five years ago - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Tuscola County man meets baby he rescued five years ago

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(10/19/12) - Five years ago Friday, a tornado plowed a path of destruction near the Tuscola County community of Millington. A 14-month-old baby was swept from his bedroom out into the darkness.

When the sun rose Oct.19, 2007, those who survived could better see how close they had come to death. One house on Barnes Road was destroyed, another nearby heavily damaged. Nicky Kelly was living here with her fiancé and two young children. The tornado hit in the middle of the night.

"I remember looking up and I saw the roof just peel back," she said.

Nicky's son, 14-month-old Blake, was sleeping in his crib until the twister sucked him out of his bedroom. Next door, Jeff Hawks had just barely made it to the basement of his house with his family, but, "I heard screaming from outside," Hawks said.

"I was yelling for Blake and I didn't hear anything," Kelly said.

"My wife said, 'Jeff, the neighbors are in trouble. There's something wrong,'" Hawks remembered.

Jeff ran outside into pitch darkness and began searching for Blake. Here's how he remembered it that night.

"We're looking all over for the baby. We scoured the whole three acres over here, the whole three acres over here on my side and we couldn't find the baby. All of a sudden I heard this little whimper. I told everyone to be quiet so we could hear it. The baby was under this huge pile of debris," he said.

Blake's crib had turned over and he was trapped under the mattress. But Hawks zeroed in on the sobs and began digging.

"I grabbed him by the hair, don't tell him that, I grabbed him by the hair and dragged him out," Hawks said.

"When I made it to him, I grabbed him from them and he was just looking around," Kelly said.

Except for a few scratches and bruises, Blake was unharmed.

"That was probably the happiest feeling I've ever had in my entire life," Kelly said.

The basement of Blake's house was located. There are still shingles and pipes in the ground. Blake's birth certificate was found five miles northeast of there.

Blake is six now - an energetic boy who recently lost his first tooth. He met his rescuer for the first time since the tornado.

"I'm just glad you're OK. God's got some big things planned for you," Hawks told him.

Living through a disaster like that can give one a new perspective on life.

"I really believe God had his hand on us that night," Hawks said.

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