OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
A former wide receiver and Marine went viral this week after he quite literally made the of a lifetime when he saved a young child thrown out of a burning building in Phoenix, Arizona.
A harrowing video went viral this week showing an ex-wide receiver, who is also a veteran of the United States Marines, saving the life of a toddler who was thrown from a burning building.
But, Phillip Blanks says the mom is the real hero in this story.
Phillip Blanks made many catches during his time as wide receiver playing college football in Southern California.
His greatest catch of all, however, came last week when he caught a three-year-old boy thrown from the balcony of an apartment that was on fire in Phoenix.
The chilling video shows Blanks diving to catch the little boy after he was thrown from the balcony by his mother.
“Instinct. There wasn’t much thinking. I just reacted. I just did it,” Blanks told Eyewitness News of what he was thinking in that moment.
Blanks, 28, went on to say that he has always wanted to help others. That’s why he joined the Marines, and it’s also why he’s since gone into the security industry.
He also gave credit for this epic catch to his time as a wide receiver at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
“I know how to catch,” he explained. “I’ve learned how to catch a football. So I’ll give some credit to football.”
Blanks said that on the day of this incident, he was home alone when he heard a loud commotion outside his building. Thinking there was a fight, he went outside to see what was going on, and it was only then that he realized there was a fire.
After running outside barefoot, Blanks immediately caught sight of the child and his mother on the balcony. Realizing what was about to happen, he took action and ran.
“He was twirling in the air like a propeller,” he recalled. “I just did my best. His head landed perfectly on my elbow. His ankle got twisted up as I was diving. The guy who was there with me – it looked like he wasn’t going to catch him. So that’s why I stepped in. I just wanted to make a better catch.”
Sadly, while the child was saved, his 30-year-old mother died in the fire.
With her home engulfed in flames, she likely knew she would not make it out alive, and her final act in life was saving her baby’s life by throwing him to safety.
The wide receiver may have made the catch to save this child, but his mom’s sacrifice to make that lifesaving throw is the real reason her toddler is alive.
“She’s the real hero of the story,” Blanks said. “Because she made the ultimate sacrifice to save her children.”
LIFESAVING CATCH: Eyewitness video shows Phillip Blanks – a former college wide receiver – sprint to the scene of a third-floor apartment fire in Phoenix before catching a small child thrown from a balcony; the mother of the child did not survive. https://t.co/CyIuiva87p pic.twitter.com/egzOxE5bFr
— World News Tonight (@ABCWorldNews) July 7, 2020
Incredible video: Former @KCentral_Sports WR Phillip Blanks dives to catch a 3-year old boy dropped from a burning, 3rd floor Phoenix apartment. I just spoke to the former @USMC Marine who says he was "put on this earth to protect people". His story tonight on @wwmtnews pic.twitter.com/Y4qDvMFEwV
— Andy Pepper (@APepperWWMT) July 6, 2020
A salute to this former Marine.
Phillip Blanks dove to catch this child who was dropped from a burning apartment.
This is a hero in every sense of the word.pic.twitter.com/Nq3j9h5gE0
— Ted Corcoran (RedTRaccoon) (@RedTRaccoon) July 8, 2020