FORT DRUM, N.Y. – A family of four were enjoying a quiet meal at a local restaurant when suddenly, cries of help were heard from across the room.
On the night of Jun. 21, 2020, 2nd Lt. Shawn G. Sutter, a security manager for the 548th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 10th Mountain Division (LI), and his family were dining together in celebration of Father’s Day when he came to the rescue of a newborn baby.
"My wife stated she heard a scream that someone was choking," said Sutter. "I hopped up, ran back to a group of people when I saw a woman on her knees with a baby in her hands.”
Sutter, a native of Harding, Pennsylvania, served as a Pennsylvania State Trooper before joining the U.S. Army in 2017. Though he is not current on Red Cross guidelines, Sutter had extensive training in performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, better known as CPR.
“I went straight through the crowd, I didn’t ask what was going on,” said Sutter. “I said ma’am, give me your baby.”
Sutter immediately assessed the situation and started rendering first aid to the three-month-old infant.
"The whole time I was giving compressions to the baby I could hear the mother behind me screaming, save my baby!” said Sutter. "All I could think about at that moment was, please start breathing again."
After about 15 seconds I could feel her breathing again and her shades of purple were turning back to her normal skin tone, added Sutter.
The family of the three-month-old baby (Reagan), were very panicked throughout the devastating event. Her mother, Susan Chiarella, expressed some of her emotions while Sutter had her baby in his arms.
"In that moment I was super hysterical," said Chiarella. "Once he said that she was breathing I was really relieved. He is my daughter's hero."
Throughout the stressful situation, Sutter credits his ability to react quickly and keep a calm composure, to the U.S. Army.
“When something happens we are taught to react,” said Sutter. “When you’re running into gunfire, risking life and limb, you react with the training the Army has given you. I absolutely credit the Army for giving me the ability to stay calm and focused during an emergency situation.”
Sutter was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) on Jul. 2, 2020, at Memorial Park on Fort Drum, New York, for his bravery and outstanding skill in rendering life-saving aid to a newborn baby.
Sutter explained how it felt to be viewed as a hero.
“I feel like I did what I had to do,” said Sutter. “I was lucky enough to have the training to be able to help a family that was in need.”