The day before Thanksgiving of 1993, a Wentzville house fire was quickly taking the lives of two young brothers and their four-year-old sister. Their mother was able to escape with another child. Harry Belcher, a police sergeant at the time, arrived with another officer before the fire department and pulled the little girl from the window of her burning room.
“I pulled one little girl and pulled her back and handed her out to the other people who were holding me by the ankles,” Belcher said in an interview at the time.
The two brothers couldn’t be saved. 25-years-later, the memory still weighs heavy on his heart.
“It`s a sight you don`t forget,” Belcher said. “At that point, I thought I was just pulling out a body. I really didn`t think that she would live,” he added, holding back tears.
Now that little girl he rescued is all grown up with a family of her own.
“I got burned down to the third layer of my skull so I lost my memory and I didn`t even know how to do anything when I came back,” Kanisha Anthony said. “My heart had actually stopped beating for about 2-3 minutes.”
Doctors told Kanisha Anthony's family at the time she'd be forever in a vegetative state. She proved them wrong and hasn't let her head to toe scars from her burns - that she was teased for as a child- hold her back.
“I can remember all the times that I was teased,” Anthony said. “The kids would pull off my hair and throw it and play tag with it. So that was hard for me. By the time I got to this age and have kids it meant so much for me to show them how to be and how not to let other people tell you who you are.”
She wrote a book she titled Scarless to share her story of perseverance.
“I never thought that I would be able to get married and have kids and all that because I was picked on so much. But you're able to do anything you put your mind to and I want of the rest the world to know that too,” she said.
At her book signing over the weekend, Anthony was overjoyed to see the officer, who risked his own life for hers, walk through the doors. She had spent a year tracking Belcher down and finally found him on Facebook.
“I just remember the tears,” said Anthony. “I remember the tears, but it was so cool to let my kids meet the man that saved my life and we hugged and talked and he told me how blessed he was to be able to see me again,” she said.
“You know sometimes God puts you through some very difficult times in order to mold you to the way he wants you to be and I think that she`s molded into the perfect human being that has a good story to tell,” said Belcher.
Scarless is available for purchase on kanishaanthony.com as well as on Kindle and Amazon.
Anthony is still trying to locate the second officer who helped rescue her, Keith Cummins, to also thank him personally.