A Hillsborough County deputy is being honored as a hero. He was in the right place at the right time, and saved a life.
“I was whispering in his ear, I just said you know you scared me,” deputy Steve Donaldson said.
Deputy Donaldson remembers the day 15-month-old CJ's life was quite literally in his hands, just a few weeks ago. In surveillance video from the Hillsborough County Tax Collector's office, you can see the terrifying moment CJ's mom carried his unresponsive body inside, asking for someone to help her son.
“I just ran and got help and good thing he was on duty to be able to help me,” Shakira Nelson said.
“I never realized how small babies were until they’re in your arms but the overwhelming responsibility of this job is never understood until you have a baby...in your arms and he’s not breathing,” Deputy Donaldson said.
It's a fluke Deputy Donaldson was there, filling in for another officer who had called out. After about 20 seconds of compressions and many prayers, CJ started breathing again.
“When I was praying earlier it was like please give me strength to and it was a complete relief, it’s overwhelming to have that responsibility in your hands,” Donaldson said.
Three weeks before this happened, Deputy Donaldson was re-certified in infant CPR. Fate, or something greater, brought these two together.
"I said a little prayer I said God give me strength to save this baby and he did,” Donaldson said.
“Thank you, and he’s saying thank you as well,” Nelson said.
Now CJ's family said they plan to keep visiting Deputy Nelson.