Chattanooga police officer honored for saving baby's life

Chattanooga police officer honored for saving baby's life

April 17th, 2019 by Meghan Mangrum in Breaking News

Chattanooga Police officer Joseph Coleman holds five-month-old Lakelynn Durhan. Coleman is credited with saving Lakelynn's life after administering CPR when the baby stopped breathing in February 2018.

Chattanooga Police officer Joseph Coleman holds five-month-old Lakelynn...

Photo by Screenshot from commission meeting.

Hamilton County commissioners honored a Chattanooga police officer who has been hailed a hero after saving a baby's life earlier this year.

Officer Joseph Coleman was recognized for his actions in February when he was on patrol and was hailed down by a frantic mother and father whose baby was having trouble breathing. 

Misty Hunter and James Durhan, the child's parents, were rushing to the hospital when they saw Coleman, who was on patrol on East 23rd Street, according to WRCB and News Channel 9.

Their daughter, Lakelynn Durhan, now five months old, had stopped breathing. Coleman jumped into action and administered first aid and CPR to the child until paramedics arrived and transported Lakelynn to the Children's Hospital at Erlanger.

Chattanooga police Chief David Roddy said that Coleman's actions were a result of not only being in the right place at the right time, but of being prepared for such a situation. 

"[Coleman] said the same thing you often hear from first responders after these incidents, that he was simply at the right place at the right time," Roddy said during the commission meeting. "But it wasn't simply the intersection of a right person at the time that a need presented itself. It was the intersection of a person who had the resolve to keep themselves together, tor remember the training and preparation - mentally and physically - of what they had trained themselves to do to prepare for that day and to be able to put that into an action that gave the resolution that we all hope and prayed for which was a family back with their loved one."

"An officer goes home standing a little straighter because of the actions they did that day, whether they want to admit it or not, and community that is grateful for that outcome and the actions of that officer," he added. 

Coleman has only served as a police officer for about two years and only shyly accepted the commission's honor. He said it "was just another day on the job and any other officer would have done the same thing."

"I know he doesn't acknowledge that he is a hero, but he truly is," said Hamilton County Mayor Jim Coppinger. "And I know this family acknowledges that he is a hero." 

Lakelynn was diagnosed with emngitis and was hospitalized at Erlanger while receiving treatment. 

Holding Lakelynn, Hunter told the commission that she considers Coleman a part of the family. 

"Our family would just like to thank Officer Coleman for everything he's done for Lakelynn, and I know he doesn't consider himself a hero, but he is," Hunter said. "And he will always be a part of our family." 

Contact staff writer Meghan Mangrum at mmangrum@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592. Follow her on Twitter @memangrum.