Life
23-year-old rookie police officer responds to call of 3-week-old baby choking on medicine
His first month on the job really put him to the test.
Marilyn Caylor
08.11.22

When Pottsville, Arkansas’ newest police officer received a call about a choking infant, he prayed for the child’s safety.

But, inside he was “freaking out.” After all, having other people look to you to save their baby’s life is a really big deal!

“Mentally, I just broke down…”

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

New dad Joe Chronister was giving his newborn son, Grady, anti-gas medicine drops when the little boy suddenly started choking and turning purple!

“We were trying to give Grady his medicine … and he was taking them just fine. Right towards the end, he started choking.”

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

When the family called for help, emergency services dispatched a rookie 23-year-old cop to come to their aid.

At the time, Office Cody Hubbard was only a month out of the police academy.

As soon as he arrived at the scene, Hubbard reached for baby Grady and got straight to work. But, as he told FOX16, “A normal day went to a chaotic day in a matter of seconds.”

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

Bodycam footage shows the baby’s grandmother, Mary Bratton Chronister, cradling Grady in her arms, frantically screaming, “he’s not breathing, he’s not breathing,” while the infant’s mother looks completely helpless.

“When a family is depending on you like that, you know the pressure hits.”

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

As a father himself, Hubbard said that he likes to treat other parents the way he would like to be treated. And he fully intended to take care of this boy like it was his own.

Thankfully, the officer knew exactly what to do, as the same thing happened to one of his own kids.

“We were trying everything, and it seemed like [Hubbard] knew exactly what to do,” Chronister told FOX16.

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

The family can be seen looking on anxiously as Office Hubbard used a technique called “back blows,” which, unlike the Heimlich Maneuver, is safe for children under the age of one.

He quickly clapped Cody on the back to help dislodge the gas drops, and after a few forceful slaps, Grady began to cry.

That was a good sign because it meant his lungs were filling with air and he was breathing again!

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

But then as the reality of what just happened dawned on him, Officer Hubbard went to his cruiser, turned off the bodycam, and sat there and cried.

“I started just kind of bawling because, you know, it felt good to see how that turned out. Mentally, I just broke down. I was crying, but it was happy tears.”

“Pretty much for the Lord to be on my side on this one,” Hubbard later added.

YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT
Source:
YouTube - FOX 16 KLRT

Officer Hubbard was later recognized for his distinguished service and community policing by the U.S. Attorney’s General Office. He’s only one of 18 officers in the country to receive the award.

Meanwhile, Grady’s father, Joe Chronister, told KTHV:

“As far as I’m concerned, he’s a family friend. Grady can call him Uncle Cody, he’s part of the family now.”

Watch bodycam footage of Officer Hubbard saving baby Grady’s life in the video below.

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By Marilyn Caylor
hi@sbly.com
Marilyn Caylor is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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