On January 20, 2017, police in Wyoming, Ill, rushed to the save a woman who called saying she was inside a burning house and was having a hard time breathing. What they found instead was a true story of heroism.
Flames engulfed 21-year-old Shelby Carter's house when firefighters arrived on the scene. They moved a pile of debris and discarded carpet to set up a ladder to reach the second floor window where they believed Shelby to be.
As they did so, a car seat rolled toward the house from the pile
Inside the car seat they discovered two-week-old baby Keana - alive. In a desperate attempt to save her baby, Shelby strapped Keana in a car seat and dropped it out a second story window. This act saved her baby's life from the very fire that killed her mother.
Shelby worked as a nail technician and was studying to become a pharmacy technician. The community mourns the loss of a young mother's talent and upbeat demeanor.
"She was making her mark in town," Mayor Pat Maher said. "She was very upbeat, always smiling."
The community set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for baby Keana's upbringing. Kathy Hardy, Shelby's mother, commented on the donation page to express her gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received.
"There are no words. Baby is perfect and she will be so well taken care of because of the generosity of not only our own community but strangers who never met us," Hardy said.
"To live in this small town is a gift and to see that a story of a hero with no cape or uniform be honored in this way is heartwarming," community member Jessica Kraft commented on the donation page. "I know that it is all appreciated as well as cherished in memory of Shelby Ann!"
The sacrifice of a mother
A mother's love is unconditional, as Shelby's example proves. Even on the brink of death, her first instincts were to save her sweet baby.
Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.