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St. Clair police officer acknowledged for saving baby’s life

Officer Ryan Young accepts a lifesaving award from St. Clair Police Chief Tim Raker on Sept. 16. - Jim Bloch

Officer Ryan Young rescues 11-month-old child

By Jim Bloch

A St. Clair police officer saved the life of a baby at the end of August.

St. Clair Police Chief Tim Raker presented Officer Ryan Young with a lifesaving award at the regular meeting of the city council held Sept. 16.

Chief Raker explains Officer Young’s lifesaving actions, which took place on Aug. 27. – Jim Bloch

“I have a lifesaving award — again,” said Raker, speaking from the podium. “I wanted to do it publicly because, being in law enforcement for 38 years, it is not a common thing for a police officer to save a life. It’s very uncommon really.”

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But it was the fourth lifesaving award that Raker has presented to his officers since he became chief.

“I’ve been here two years,” Raker said. “So it’s a huge statement for a small-town police department.”

On Aug. 27 at 8:20 p.m., Officer Young was dispatched to the scene of an 11-month old child who was choking, Raker said.

“Officer Young made contact with the father in the front yard, who guided him into the house. In the house, the baby was in the arms of the mother,” Raker said. “When Officer Young got inside, he saw this lifeless blue-in-color baby. He took him immediately and started doing back thrusts in an attempt to clear the baby’s airway. He did that until Tri-Hospital EMS and St. Clair Fire got there. He was able to partially dislodge the fruit the child was choking on, which opened the child’s airway slightly. The baby was taken to River District Hospital and the doctors and nurses were able to clear the airway and the one-year-old young man is with us still today.”

Raker called the event “a huge deal.”

“I’d like to read you an email I got,” Raker said. “It made me feel good as a chief. I’m sitting on my sofa at home and I get this email from a Tri-Hospital paramedic:

Mayor Bill Cedar thanks Officer Young for his actions. – Jim Bloch

“‘Good evening, Chief, I hope this message finds you well. I just wanted to let you know how impressed I was with one of your officers. We were dispatched to a baby choking tonight. Thanks to the efforts of one of your officers — I believe his name was Young — the baby was able to breathe again. Officer Young arrived and immediately began initiating back blows. He was professional and calm. He was the reason the majority of the baby’s airway became clear. Please extend our appreciation to Officer Young and let him know he saved a life.'”

Raker thanked Young and shook his hand.

The audience stood and applauded as Raker presented Young with the lifesaving award. The audience continued to clap as the men again shook hands.

“Thank you, Chief,” said Mayor Bill Cedar. “Ryan, congratulations and thank you. You represent what is really right about law enforcement and young people.”

Jim Bloch is an award-winning freelance writer based in St. Clair, Michigan. He writes about the environment, local politics, art, music, history and culture. Contact him at

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