He heard ‘My baby!’ and came to the rescue

posted by Greg Lane -

I have know Rob for almost 18 years and I never knew about this story until the Thursday when I saw him as these pictures were being taken..This is an incredible story about Human Nature and how a quick thinking stranger saved the life of a baby with out any fanfare, and after an extension search the hero and the "little baby" meet face to face  This story is from the Fresno Bee written by Carmen George, photos by Carmen George and The Fresno Bee..

Rick Freund was driving home from watching car races one  late summer night in 1971 when he spotted a section of sky brightly  illuminated by what had to be fire. Driving towards the light, the  24-year-old discovered a Fresno home engulfed in flames, three little  girls in nightgowns standing on their front lawn gaping at the  catastrophe, and their mother wailing, “My baby! My baby! Where is my  baby?”


“I just asked her where her baby was and she pointed out the room,” Freund recalls.


Firefighters hadn’t arrived yet, so Freund and deputies from the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office  approached the baby’s bedroom window. One of the deputies shattered it  with a baton, then hoisted Freund – who was the thinnest – through the  window. Inside, he found a room filled with smoke, flames fast  approaching on the other side of the door, and a smiling baby in a crib.  He scooped up the infant and passed the child through the window, then  pushed himself out, bloodying his back and hands in the process. 


If he had not shown up, my brother would not be here.

Christina Witmyer 

Forty-six years later, Freund finally found out when the  family he helped all those years ago tracked him down to share their  thanks for the first time.


Freund learned that the  baby he saved was a boy: Robert “Bobby” Magee. And Freund learned that  because he saved him, Magee helped save hundreds of other lives. 


Magee is now a  47-year-old father of three who has been organizing a large blood drive  for the past 18 years with a business partner at the Pumpkin King Pumpkin Patch in Fresno.


“We put a lot of sweat  and blood and tears into that blood drive,” Magee says of more than  18,000 units of blood that have been collected for the Central California Blood Center, “and I guess that will be what I’m most proud of, that every year we get to go down there and save lives.”


The reunion between  Magee and Freund was facilitated by one of Magee’s sisters, Cyndee  Farr-Gutierrez. Her search for Freund began after she wrote a story for a  college class about the fire that destroyed her childhood home. It got  her thinking more about how her family never got the chance to thank the  good Samaritan who saved her baby brother’s life.


She wrote Freund a  thank-you letter and emailed The Bee to see if it could be printed as an  advertisement. Her family knew Freund’s name from an old Bee article  (Freund’s name was given to the paper by a friend he told about the  fire) but the family had been unsuccessful in locating him.


Although  Bobby may never remember or see the stranger again, he has his life to  thank to the quick action of the Fresno City College student.


Greg Lane

Greg Lane

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