CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Billy Jo Schrader felt the contractions at 3 a.m. on Monday and woke her husband, Bo Smith. They were spending the night in Martinsburg. They decided to head home to Maryland so that their son could be born in Hagerstown.
But snow slowed the drive and it soon became clear they were in trouble, so he pulled their vehicle off Interstate 81 in Falling Waters. He called 911 and hoped the ambulance would arrive in time.
It didn't, but a 911 operator calmly coached him through the harrowing - and ultimately rewarding - experience.
"She told me to lay her down in the back seat, but I had tools and car seats, so I couldn't. So she was in the front seat that I laid back, one leg out the car with the door open. I put a little pressure above his head, and he basically shot out into my arms. I grabbed him, picked him up and wrapped him in her sweater coat, and I covered them up with my shirt," Smith told Samantha Cronk of the Martinsburg Journal.
They named their son Blake Brisk Smith. Indeed, it was brisk on Monday.
Babies are miracles, and occasionally 911 operators are miracle workers. While he did not get the operator's name and 911 officials were not forthcoming with the name for Cronk, she represents a special breed of people who deserve the public's appreciation.