KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — Dramatic cellphone video captured a Kalamazoo native as he caught a baby who was thrown from a burning apartment building in Arizona.

“It was definitely fate,” said Phillip Blanks.

Blanks made the rescue in Phoenix on July 2. The baby boy’s mom sacrificed her life to save his. She threw him out of the window of their burning apartment.

“Soon as I caught him, it was a divine moment,” said Blanks. “We looked each other in the eyes, and he had this new slate of life in him, new chance at life, like I’ll never forget that.”

Phillip Blanks

Blanks credited the split-second decision to his training as a Marine and wide receiver for Kalamazoo Central High School.

“It was all an act of God,” said Blanks.

The veteran’s hometown community leaders rewarded him for his heroism.

“Heroes come in all shapes and sizes,” said Brian Menther, who is the managing partner of Kalamazoo Mortgage.

Kalamazoo Mortgage created a scholarship in Blanks’ name that the manager said will benefit all three of the city’s high schools. Kalamazoo’s mayor also praised Blanks for his selflessness with a proclamation.

“More than ever, we need more people like that,” said Menther.

As Blanks reflects on the dramatic video of the rescue, he said he’s reminded that in the absence of the baby’s mom is the presence of love for the little one and his surviving father and sister.

“We ended up becoming family,” said Blanks.