What a Woman Did to Save Her Toddler From Drowning Is a Mighty Testament of a Mother’s Will

August 31, 2017
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What a Woman Did to Save Her Toddler From Drowning Is a Mighty Testament of a Mother’s Will

Forty-one-year-old Colette Sulcer was one of the thousands of parents who had to escape the unforgiving wrath of Hurricane Harvey.

As the water rose, Sulcer decided to get off the road. She parked her vehicle in an office parking lot just off Interstate 10.

Sulcer wasn’t the only one in the car, though. Her 3-year-old daughter was with her. The parking lot didn’t end up being a safe haven, either. Two inches of rain hammered the area per hour, along with wind gusts of up to 38 mph. With no choice but to abandon her vehicle, the mother got out of the car with her 3-year-old in tow.

In an attempt to get her daughter to safety, Sulcer and her child were swept away in the flood.

According to the abcnews:

Beaumont police identified the mother as Colette Sulcer, 41, and said her daughter was being treated for hypothermia but doing well. When rescuers found the mother and daughter, the girl was on her mother’s back, holding on, said Police Officer Haley Morrow.

“I envision what I would do if that was me in that situation and that’s what I would do: I would put my child on my back and try to swim to safety or whatever,” Morrow said.

Sulcer’s vehicle got stuck Tuesday afternoon in the flooded parking lot of an office park just off Interstate 10, said Capt. Brad Penisson of the fire-rescue department in Beaumont. Squalls from Harvey were pounding Beaumont with up to 2 inches (5 centimeters) of rain an hour with 38 mph (60 kph) gusts, according to the National Weather Service.

A witness saw the woman take her daughter and try to walk to safety when the swift current of a flooded drainage canal next to the parking lot swept them both away, Penisson said.

Morrow said the woman’s actions probably saved her little girl’s life. “When they found her she was still up out of the water,” Morrow said.

A police and fire-rescue team in a boat caught up to them a half-mile downstream from Sucler’s vehicle, according to Penisson. Rescuers pulled them into the boat just before they would have gone under a railroad trestle where the water was so high that the boat could not have followed. First responders lifted the child from her mother’s body and tried to revive the woman, but she never regained consciousness.

A citizen allowed first responders to load the mother and daughter into his truck and he brought them to a waiting ambulance, Morrow said.

The child was taken to the Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, and was expected to be released Wednesday. Officer Carol Riley said the girl was doing “very well” and was chatty.

“Everybody at the hospital and the officers just fell in love with her,” Riley said.

According to the city of Beaumont, Texas, website:

At some point, she was swept into the canal and ended up floating about a ½ mile from her vehicle. Two Beaumont Police Officers and two Beaumont Fire Rescue divers in a Zodiac boat spotted the mother floating with the small child. The child was holding on to her mother.

The first responders got to the mother and child just before they went under a trestle. Water was up to the trestle and first responders would not have been able to save the child if they had floated under it. Officers pulled the child and the mother into the boat and got them to the area of the 3700 block of Bayou.

First responders were unable to resuscitate Sulcer. Her child made it out alive, though, and is in stable condition.

Officer Haley Morrow of the Beaumont Police Department offered a powerful statement to The Washington Post about Sulcer:

“It’s a true testament of a mother’s will to sacrifice her life to keep her child alive.”

That right there really says it all. May she rest in peace.

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