In haunting news footage from Oct. 19, 2007, an emotional Jeff Hawks told the story of how he rescued his neighbor's baby, torn from his bedroom, from under a ton of rubble after a tornado ripped through Millington, Mich.
Exactly five years later on Friday, that night of terror turned to the most joyous of reunions. Hawks, now 43, met Blake, the 14-month-old boy he saved. Blake is now 6.
Under a sparkling October blue sky near where the twister touched down, Hawks picked him up and wrapped him in a bear hug.
"I'm just glad you're OK," he told the boy in a segment from ABC 12 (watch above). "God's got some big things planned for you."
Looking back at a storm so powerful that Blake's birth certificate was found five miles away, Hawks offered new perspective on that night. He told the station how he gathered his wife and three kids to seek shelter in the basement, then heard screams from neighbor Nicky Kelly. He emerged from the underground shelter and Kelly told him her son was missing, blown out with his crib into the violent storm.
Kelly had also placed a call to 911, which was replayed on Ellen DeGeneres' show after the near-tragedy. "There's no house over there! My baby's over there! OK? Please hurry, my baby! Please, please hurry. Please, oh, please!"
Hawks immediately began searching 10 acres of land, sifting through baby dolls that he feared were Blake, ABCNews.com reported.
A whimper led Hawks and Kelly's fiance to an overturned crib, topped by thousands of pounds of debris. Unable to budge the crib, Hawks reached under the pile and grabbed the boy by the hair, pulling him out. But Blake had Christmas lights wrapped around his neck and had turned blue. So Hawks ripped the wires away, and Kelly grabbed him, relieved that the baby was looking around like a normal curious toddler.
In a 2007 interview with the Flint Journal, she called Blake "my miracle baby." Now the miracle knows the man who was his flesh-and-blood guardian angel.