Ohio mom’s desperate call to 911 at 3 am leads an officer to buy, deliver baby formula

An Ohio police officer came to the rescue of a mother desperate to feed her baby last month, earning him praise from local community members and social media users nationwide.

Corporal Hunter Willoughby works for Miami Township Police, about 26 miles northeast of Cincinnati. In the early morning hours of June 15, the department got a call about a mom who wasn’t able to breastfeed her baby, who was just one week old.

Willoughby went to a nearby store, Meijer, which was closed at the time and asked them if they’d be willing to open the store so he could buy formula and bottles for the infant. After making the purchase, he made his way to the mother and delivered them to her.

“He refused to accept any payment for the formula or bottles,” wrote Chief Mike Mills from the Miami Township Police July 2 on Facebook. “You don't often hear about everything a police officer does in the course of their shift, but I do and this is an example of the Miami Township Way.”

A police officer in Clermont County, Ohio makes a late night grocery store trip to purchase infant formula for a mother in need and her newborn.
A police officer in Clermont County, Ohio makes a late night grocery store trip to purchase infant formula for a mother in need and her newborn.

Corporal's heroic response saves the day

Bodycam footage of the save shows Willoughby knocking on the store’s door repeatedly until an employee comes out to see what's going on.

“There is a mom,” he says in the footage. “She said her milk dried up and she can’t find anywhere to buy formula. Is there any way anybody in here can turn on a cash register? I’ll buy it for her and take it to her.”

The next clip the police department posted shows the corporal trying to decide which kind of formula to get.

"What the heck's the difference?" he asks himself before grabbing a can of Similac baby formula.

When a store employee asks if the nursing mother has bottles, Willoughby decides to grab some of those just in case. The employee helped him choose a set of bottles before taking him over to the register to get checked out.

Corporal has been honored in the past for his service

Willoughby has been recognized numerous times for his work with the police department.

He was first sworn in on the night of April 18, 2017, according to a post from the department.

In May 2019, he was named the 2018 Miami Township Police Officer of the Year. In a Facebook post about the accomplishment, the department said Willoughby has embodied the agency’s core values of commitment, integrity and accountability.

He became a corporal in April 2023, the department said, congratulating him online.

According to the department, Willoughby served as a patrol officer, a field training officer and detective for six years before making the switch.

During his career, Willoughby has been recognized by community members for helping them get help. In January 2021, two people he had previously arrested thanked him for helping them treat their drug addiction.

“Jennifer and David stopped by to show their appreciation for Officer Hunter Willoughby,” the department wrote at the time. “They were addicted to opiates when Hunter arrested them in 2019, pushing them towards treatment. They both made it clear that they would not be alive if it wasn’t for officer Willoughby.”

Saleen Martin is a reporter on USA TODAY's NOW team. She is from Norfolk, Virginia – the 757. Follow her on Twitter at @SaleenMartin or email her at sdmartin@usatoday.com.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Officer buys formula for nursing mom in crisis: Watch act of kindness