Recently, the Cleveland Lions Club presented Cortney Payne with a plaque because she risked her life to save the life of a small, dirt-covered girl who was apparently being neglected.
Lions Club President Emary “Chip” Bryant Jr., and Vice President David Souders presented a “Community Hero” plaque to Payne, which contained a brief history of the event Payne said occurred a few weeks ago.
“The Cleveland Lions Club is proud to recognize Cortney Payne for her heroism. She certainly saved a child from immediate danger,” the plaque read.
According to Payne, she was at the off-ramp on Paul Huff Parkway, near where she works at Kohl’s.
She was driving barefoot.
Payne said she observed what appeared to be about a 2-year-old girl standing near the busy roadway.
She was situated on the opposite side of Huff Parkway.
The little girl reportedly ran into oncoming traffic and Payne took action.
“I threw my car into park and ran [barefoot] into oncoming traffic and grabbed her,” said Payne.
Payne said she ran with the little girl back to the side of the road, where her car was parked.
The child, dressed in a dirty nightgown, was soaked with what Payne believed was urine.
Payne thought of her own, 1-year-old daughter.
“Her mother was nearby at the traffic light. She appeared homeless and was holding a sign,” Payne said.
The woman approached Payne and asked what she was doing.
Payne immediately contacted 911 who sent police to the scene.
Payne said she is unsure where the little girl is now, or if she is safe.
She has done some follow-up with Child Protective Services and even drove around in the area to see if she could spot the child and her mother.
“She was there at the right time,” said Bryant. “There is no doubt there are angels there and watching out for that child. God planned for Cortney to be there at that time and we are certain that there is an angel out there at this time to watch out for the child,” he added.
“Cortney endangered her life to save a little child. A child’s welfare should be everyone’s concern, and our club commends Cortney for her action and continuing concern,” Bryant said.