COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - When 1-year-old Zion started choking, panic set in.
His parents tried everything they knew. They did back thrusts, swept his mouth for food, and attempted CPR. But when nothing worked, they felt sure driving him to the emergency room was their best bet at saving their baby. Then, their car broke down.
Lemorriea and Justin Green remember leaning on prayer at that moment.
"God blessed us because we were right next to someone we went to church with. And then when I looked up, there was a police officer right there," said Justin.
Within minutes, there were more. The family was surrounded by flashing lights. With all traffic stopped on Decker Boulevard, each deputy took a turn working on Zion as he struggled for air.
"It was an orchestrated dance and a lot of praying," said Cpl. Kristin Boyles.
From thrusts to compressions, the work never stopped as Zion's parents and siblings begged for those there to save the baby.
"It's almost like it's your own child," said Deputy Sheriff Dennis Thomas.
As soon as EMTs arrived, Boyles jumped in the ambulance with the baby and worked alongside EMTs. All were resolute not to give up.
Now she and her fellow deputies are among the first responders and doctors the family says helped save their baby boy.
"What they initially started doing is what helped. Not to lose all of the oxygen from his brain. Because if he did that, he'd have more complications. He could even be brain dead today. It's something positive out of our deputies, and I want people to know that." said Zion's grandma, Candi Meyers.
Both deputies and EMT got the chance to visit Zion in the PICU at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. They say they're still eager for updates as he continues to recover.
Monday, doctors removed Zion's intubation tube. They're also weaning him off the drugs that kept him sedated and paralyzed in the days after his accident.
"Everything happens for a reason. That child has a reason to be on this Earth today," said Boyles.
Friends of the family have set up a fund to help with hospital bills. You can donate by asking for the Baby Zion Fund at BB&T locations.