CLAY COUNTY, Fla. — A local woman surrendered her newborn daughter at Clay County Fire Station 26 in Oakleaf three years ago in February.
“Usually calls don’t come to us, we go to those,” Capt. Billy Futch said. “When she drove up, it was obvious she had just given birth to a baby and when she handed over the baby, the baby was in distress, wasn’t crying like babies should be, her color was extremely blue and we knew we had to do something quickly.”
Under Infant Safe Haven Laws, parents can give away their newborn infants within a certain timeframe to personnel at safe places.
Futch was one of five firefighters at Station 26 who met the mother and rescued this baby. He and two other engineers at the station rushed her to the nearest medical center. The mother left and was not identified.
“We work together as a team, all of us had a role,” Futch said. “One of us was doing the oxygen, one’s wrapping up the baby, one is listening to the lungs.”
Later that night, the baby recovered at St. Vincent’s Medical Center. Child Protective Services quickly made contact with a family looking to adopt in Lake City.
Rob and Kristy Skinner, and their two sons, waited to adopt for three years. They said they were at a beauty pageant with their extended family when they got the call about this baby.
“We weren’t sure how we were going to connect with her, attach to her, we were very unsure of how does this work,” Kristy Skinner said. “But from the moment we walked into the hospital room, we both cried and just couldn’t stop starting at her, especially him, you can’t tell anybody she’s not his (daughter).”
From that day on, Skinner said she became Allison Skinner, Ally for short.
“Thinking about the fact that she’s adopted, it doesn’t ever cross our minds,” Skinner said. “Obviously other people know that she’s adopted, but it’s just like if she was our own child.”
As Ally continued to grow into a sweet and sassy girl, Skinner wanted to thank the firefighters who saved her. She found Futch listed in a report and tracked him down on social media.
They have continued to keep in touch each year on Ally’s birthday. On her third, the Skinners drove up to Lake City to meet the firefighters at Station 26.
Futch and Ally have formed a special bond. He, too, was adopted as a newborn and said he feels a special connection to her. He said he is grateful to see her happy and healthy with her loving family.
“It’s the greatest feeling ever, makes your heart full,” Futch said. “We do this job. It’s not always a thankful job. We don’t always get a response back, but it’s a great, great feeling.”
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