A Good Samaritan defied official orders to stay out of the mudslide debris that covered an area of Washington state. Kody Wesson managed to pull 22-week-old Duke Saddarth and his mother, Amanda Skorjanc, from the mudslide and get them the medical help they desperately needed.
Wesson was driving when the mudslide hit; he got out of his truck and ignored a state trooper's warning not to go into the debris to help look for survivors. He managed to hear the baby's cries and made his way to where Duke and Amanda were. Amanda had two broken legs, making it impossible for her to escape the mudslide.
"You gotta help 'em. How can you not? What are you supposed to do, you can't just stand there and watch," Wesson told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "I could see the baby's face. It was all bruised up. She [Amanda] said his name was Duke. I asked if I could take him out of there."
Wesson gently took the baby, wrapped him in his coat, and carried him to where emergency personnel were waiting. Other rescuers then worked to free Amanda and took the pair to the local hospital. Duke is currently listed in serious condition in the Intensive Care Unit but is expected to make a full recovery, as is his mother.
"We are so grateful to all the responders who jeopardized their safety in order to pull Duke and Amanda out of the debris," the family said in a statement released through the hospital. "Words alone cannot tell you how thankful we are. Our hearts and support continue to go out to everyone who has been affected by this tragedy."
As it stands, 21 people have been killed in the mudslide and 30 are still missing. But among all the sorrow, people are standing strong and looking to find the good in the midst of loss.
"People say in times of disaster, it brings out the best and the worst in people," Pastor Gary Ray of Oso Community Chapel in Oso, Washington, told CNN. "But I'm just seeing the best. I'm seeing patience and sacrifice. Character is being developed. I don't know what the future holds, but I do hope for some unexpected blessings."
One of those blessings, it seems, is baby Duke.