IMG_7922For Immediate Release

January 18, 2018 

CHIPLEY, Fla—Sometimes the pieces just fall into place.

Walton County Sheriff’s Office Detention Deputy Thomas Corbett wasn’t planning on going to lunch Wednesday, January 17th. But, he and three others attending Florida Panhandle Technical College in Chipley decided to grab a bite to eat at Javier’s Mexican Grill.

“He didn’t want to go at first,” said Deputy Tyler Elmore, also a WCSO employee.

Elmore was the one who eventually convinced Corbett to go. But, that wasn’t the first piece to fall into place. Or even the second.

The day before, Sergeant Joseph Rozeir (Ret.) taught his entire class on first aid.

“I actually changed the schedule around this week,” said Rozeir, Corrections Coordinator and Instructor at FPTC. “But, I moved some things around last minute. Something spiritual was going on; no matter how you look at it.”

Corbett, Elmore and two others, WCSO Deputies Kyle Pearce and Pablo Dade were all in attendance. They learned how to perform CPR and how to do an abdominal thrust to save a victim who may be choking.

Then, the final piece.

Corbett sat across the restaurant from a large party. When he was almost finished with his meal he noticed a small boy stand up. Corbett immediately knew what was happening when he saw a small amount of saliva coming from the boy’s mouth.

He was choking.

Kayln Hardin felt Corbett’s chair hit hers as he got up to run over.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” said Hardin, who was also eating at Javier’s that day. “I could tell the little boy was losing consciousness.”

As Corbett got to the table, the little boy slumped over in his chair.

“I immediately positioned my hands to perform the abdominal thrust,” said Corbett. “The boy was small enough to where I eventually switched and tried a few back blows.”

Elmore, Pearce and Dade quickly starting clearing chairs in case CPR became necessary.

The piece of food came loose. Tears started to run down the little boy’s face.

“I just looked at him and asked him if he was alright,” said Corbett. “He started to cry and his mother rushed him into the bathroom.

“He just went back to his table and sat down,” said Hardin. “I just kept thinking ‘he just saved that boy’s life.’”

Corbett and the three other men paid their bill and returned to class.

“Call it divine intervention,” said Sheriff Michael Adkinson. “Whatever you believe in; there was something at work here.”

“All I want to do is work every day to become a better person,” said Corbett. “And change people’s lives for the better.”

Some would argue that it’s that decision – the decision to become a law enforcement officer— that may have been the first piece to fall into place.