Modern Minuteman: Kirwin J. Darney III saves drowning child

Spc. Kirwin J. Darney III with Nisha and son


The day began as one might expect; a visit with friends and relaxing at their apartment complex’s pool. However, the day would turn on one scream and a very quick decision.

darneyIII-kirwin-modern-day-minuteman2-043014“It was the sound only a distressed mother could make,” said Darney.

He reacted, as a modern minuteman should and ran toward the screams. Jumping the pool’s fence, he saw a woman running down the side of a small hill toward a partially drained pond. He ran faster when he saw where she ran and why she screamed. Darney glimpsed the small motionless body of a child face down in the water.

Nisha Reynolds pulled her child out of the muddy water and handed him to Darney after he jumped in the pond.

“It was just instinct, I never had to deal with a baby before,” said Darney.

Fortunately for Reynolds, the man who ran to her aid is a Soldier in the North Carolina National Guard.

All the training came back, airway, breathing, circulation. Open the jaw, clear the tongue and give a breath; the foundations of CPR.

After Darney’s first breath, there was still no movement of the child’s chest. After more rescue breaths, water and mud began to exit the child’s nose.

“Once I got the first breath in (past the water and mud) he started to wheeze, it was nothing short of a miracle,” said Darney.

A few more breaths and the child began to cry and open its eyes to the sounds of fire and first responders’ sirens. Soon the rescue personnel took the child and mother to a nearby hospital.

Over the rest of the weekend, Darney kept thinking of the child.

“I was worried but because of confidentiality laws a hospital cannot tell you if he was OK,” Said Darney.

The next Monday he found the answer to that question in person. Reynolds called and asked Darney if he could visit and so that she could thank him for saving her child.

Darney waited outside his apartment as her car approached. Reynolds parked her vehicle and opened her rear door; bringing out the playful, giggling child Darney had last seen crying under an oxygen mask.

“I want to thank you so much for saving my child,” said Reynolds. “You will always be the guy in the lime green shorts who, through the grace of God, helped bring our little boy back to life.”

(source: North Carolina National Guard)