Police officers honored for saving infant

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Updated: 8/09/2013 11:53 pm Published: 8/09/2013 11:52 pm

Three Green Country police officers were honored this week for saving a 6-month-old baby from his home as the river waters were raised in south Tahlequah.

FOX23 News cameras were the only ones there as one of the officers went back to that home to see the infant for the first time since saving him.

The family, which wasn't comfortable with its English, wouldn't agree to speak on camera but the smiles said plenty Friday afternoon.

Nearly two weeks ago, heavy rain flooded their neighborhood. Three officers ran through nearly 3 feet of floodwater to get the family out of the home.

"I took the 6-month-old baby in my arms," said Officer Austin Yates.

He was one of the men honored Monday for their bravery with a Police Commendation Medal.

Tahlequah Police Chief Nate King told FOX23's Dontaye Carter in two minutes the water raised from 6 inches to more than 3 feet. They ran half a mile just to get to the home to save five people.

"The water was rushing, it was very deep, and it was tough to run through," said Yates. "My main concern was that 6-month-old child in my arms."

Yates says he was working to rescue the child, knowing hours earlier a close friend died of a heart attack.

"I knew that God put me in this place to save a life from the one that was taken from me earlier that day," said Yates.

He says daily he depends on more than just his bulletproof vest and a gun every day. He depends on prayer and in this case it was answered.

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