HARVIN COLUMN: Selfless acts make all the difference in three North Charleston families
Today, reporter Dave Munday has written about three people who performed extraordinary acts that resulted in lives being saved this year.
They were honored by the North Charleston Fire Department at last weekís City Council meeting, and rightly so.
Each of these people rushed in where others feared to tread, and saved lives doing it.
None of them woke up those fateful mornings and decided that day was the day they would do something heroic. They didnít think of themselves as brave people. They were prepared just to go about a normal day.
Two of the cases involved house fires. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that 85 percent of fire deaths are in the home.
Fire victims often may wake up too late, or die of toxic fumes and smoke inhalation. Many fire victims die within a few feet of a door, overcome before they can make it out.
North Charleston police officer Andrew Glover knows that seconds count with a fire. Heís a professional, trained as both a police officer and a firefighter.
He made the important call for help but didnít hesitate to put his own life at risk to get a family out. He knew the risks. If he had waited, the outcome could have been far deadlier, but he also could have become a victim himself.
Reginald Curry acted the way we all hope we will when faced with a crisis. He heard a scream for help, saw the burning building and leaped into action. He got a frantic mother to drop her baby into his waiting arms, and then got her to jump, too.
But the emergency wasnít over. The mother screamed for her second child, one who already had been burned and overcome by smoke.
Curry didnít hesitate to rush inside. He reached 3-year-old Durtez Gordon in time to save him. The child was burned over 70 percent of his body and his survival was touch and go, but he is slowly healing now.
Thomas Gotbeter was headed into a convenience store when he heard a woman scream for help. Her husband had stopped breathing and had no heartbeat ó a full cardiac arrest.
Every minute that a heart is stopped is a minute closer to irreversible damage and death. Without immediate CPR, many people die before EMS can get there, or suffer brain and organ damage that leaves them impaired.
But Gotbeter, an electrician, had learned CPR because the risk of a sudden shock around electricity is high and he needed to know what to do in case of a job accident.
He never dreamed he would use the skill on the pavement of a Liíl Cricket, or that the man he helped would leave the hospital a few days later.
Itís good that these three selfless men were honored for their service, but itís important to tell their stories, too, of how one personís decision can be the difference in the life of another family.
In each case, a family was saved along with the person.
Those families will tell those stories for the rest of their lives and be thankful for the men who saved their loved ones.
It is through selfless acts like these that we have a great community. And the act of sharing them inspires all of us to be better citizens.
While Durtez will need time to heal from the fire, he also will grow up knowing that a few minutes in one manís life made all the difference in his.
And maybe he will make a difference for someone else.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557.