Former Kalamazoo Central wide receiver Phillip Blanks once caught a 30-yard touchdown pass on the final play of a game to defeat arch-rival Loy Norrix in 2009. No one knew at that time, but that wouldn’t be his best catch of his life.
The retired marine was recently at the right place at the right time when he made a life-saving catch of a 3-year-old boy who was dropped from the balcony of a burning, third floor apartment in Phoenix, Arizona.
“People were screaming ‘there are kids up there’ and to throw the kids down,” Blanks said via WWMT. “I saw another guy was standing there ready to catch the boy, but he didn’t look like he was going to do it, so I stepped in front of him. The way I caught him damaged his foot, but the most important thing is his head was safe.”
The 28-year-old was up early on this day to go workout with a friend when he encountered screaming and immediately raced over to catch a young child he says was “twirling like a helicopter” as he fell through the air.
The boy and his 8-year-old sister were critically injured in the fire. The mother of the two children did not survive the fire.