Man honored for saving toddler tossed from burning building

VIDEO: Man honored for saving toddler tossed from burning building

NEW YORK (CBS News) - A retired U.S. Marine who saved a toddler’s life earlier this month says he is not a hero.

But Phillips Blanks found himself in the right place at the right time to save a life.

“I was not expecting or asking for any of this attention,” Blanks said. “But God put me on this platform, he put me in the right place at the right time to save Jameson.”

Blanks was visiting a friend in Phoenix when he saw a burning apartment building and a desperate mother. Rachel Long dropped her 3-year-old son, Jameson, from a third-floor balcony and Blanks was there to make the catch.

Long did not survive the fire.

“I would not be here without Rachel Long, who is the true hero,” Blanks said.

The 28-year-old former college football player opened a security company after leaving the service. He says he’s been training physically and mentally for years to jump in and help.

“I always put in in my head that if something happens like this wherever I’m at, I’m gonna be the one to save the day,” Blanks said. “That’s just how I think, that’s just how I am.”

The city of Kalamazoo, Michigan, established a scholarship in honor of Blanks.

Three-year-old Jameson Long was OK after the rescue. Local media reported his 8-year-old sister also survived the fire.

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