There wasn’t a dry eye in Berkeley County Council Chambers Monday night during a tender reunion between a local deputy and the newborn—and her mother—he saved during a near-death encounter earlier this summer. The crowd gave multiple standing ovations for Deputy William Kimbro.
The trained law enforcement officer was close by and ready to help when 12-day-old Ryleigh stopped breathing while drinking her bottle, according to Berkeley County sheriff’s officials.
Kimbro was patrolling in Tramway subdivision in the county’s unincorporated part of Summerville, when according to sheriff’s officials, he noticed a vehicle speed through the area. Typically a school resource officer, Kimbro was on patrol as part of his summer duties.
After stopping the car, Kimbro soon discovered the reason for the speed—baby Ryleigh was limp and not breathing. The deputy took immediate action and for seven minutes performed CPR, until EMS arrived.
“(Kimbro) is truly an example of someone who cares about his community,” said Sheriff Duane Lewis.
But don’t call Kimbro a hero—the term that’s been attached to his name since the June 11 event. He told a packed meeting room on Aug. 12 that he was simply doing his job that day and that God put him in the right place at the right time.
Kimbro also didn’t take sole credit. He praised firefighters and all local first responders who helped him render aid to Ryleigh and who often perform similar courageous acts for the community, as part of their daily duties.
“Thank you for what you do every day,” Kimbro said.
“We see a lot of negative stuff about law enforcement…in the news,” he said, “but I can tell you that the men and women of your sheriff’s office—they come here every day and every night, to protect you and to do the right thing…and there’s nothing more sacred to any of us—deputies, police officers, sheriffs, EMS, fire—than to save a life. That’s really what our true calling and our true mission is.”
The council and people in attendance even got the chance to watch Kimbro’s body cam footage from that day.
“What you saw in that video was you doing a really unbelievable job changing lives—changing a family,” said County Supervisor Johnny Cribb to Kimbro. “And just seeing the scene, how calm you were—just unbelievable. …This kind of work is going on around Berkeley County all the time.”
The governing body also presented Kimbro a special proclamation detailing his heroic actions.
“I’m sure ya’ll have a very special bond,” said Councilman Jack Schurlknight to Kimbro. “Council couldn’t be more proud of you. …It was such a happy ending when it could’ve been so tragic.”
The county said the body cam footage has been viewed more than 600,000 times and news of the incident broadcasted worldwide.