Art hed Officer, two citizens hailed as heroes for saving lives

Durtez Gordon, 3, puts on a brave face despite all his bandages. He was saved from a fire by neighbor Reginald Curry (right). Curry was recognized as a citizen hero at the North Charleston City Council meeting last Thursday. Durtez’s grandmother, Leola Gordon, is holding him, with his great-aunt, Willa Palmer, beside them.

Three North Charleston residents were recognized as citizen heroes at last week’s City Council meeting.

“They didn’t hesitate (to put themselves in danger),” Fire Chief Greg Bulanow said before giving each man a plaque. “They each took immediate action at a critical moment that resulted in saving someone’s life.”

Here are their stories, as read at the council meeting with slight editing for print and reactions.

Gotbeter responded to a complete stranger who was in full cardiac arrest at a convenience store. He performed CPR on the man until emergency personnel arrived on scene.

On April 3, Gotbeter was walking into the Li’l Cricket on Aviation Avenue when he heard a woman scream from a nearby vehicle. Gotbeter went to the vehicle and found that the woman’s husband was not breathing and had no heartbeat. Gotbeter removed the man from the vehicle and immediately began performing CPR. He continued to perform compressions until North Charleston Fire Engine 203’s crew arrived and took over patient care. Gotbeter then stayed on the scene until Charleston County EMS arrived and transported the patient to a hospital.

In the days that followed, the patient received additional treatment and a short time later walked out of the hospital alive and well.

“When in full arrest, the only chance of survival is to receive early and skillful delivery of CPR,” Bulanow noted. “How soon they receive CPR significantly affects their survival rate. Gotbeter’s selfless act to come to the aid of a stranger reflects the best of what we hope for from our fellow citizens and it led directly to the saving of a life.”

Gotbeter’s public remarks after receiving the plaque were brief.

“I just want to thank God for putting me in the situation,” he said. “This man might not be alive today without me being there, and he (God) just completely took control of me there.”

After the meeting, Gotbeter said he learned CPR because it was part of his required training as an electrician.

Glover is a North Charleston police officer. On April 15, Glover was on patrol in the Remount Road area when he observed black smoke and drove down Buskirk Street to investigate.

He found a home on fire with thick black smoke pouring out of the back of the house. After notifying dispatch to respond, Glover knocked on the doors and then entered the home to ensure that any residents were out of the home. However, he found the homeowner and her adult grandson in the home unaware of the danger, still asleep in their rooms. Glover woke them and insisted they leave the residence. They exited the home safely and credited Glover with saving their lives.

Glover’s effort to enter a burning home to alert the occupants of danger is an example of going above and beyond the call of duty, Bulanow said.

“Toxic smoke in residential fires can kill an occupant or would-be rescuer in just a few breaths, and Officer Glover willingly braved this danger and saved the lives of two residents,” Bulanow said.

The two people he saved were at the council meeting. Glover downplayed his heroism in his remarks after the award.

“Anyone else in my position would have done the same thing I did,” he said. “I’m just glad to see that they’re here.”

Glover has been on the police force for eight years, and he was a firefighter for seven years in the Air Force.

“It was pretty much instinct,” he said before the meeting.

On the afternoon of Feb. 10, a fire broke out at the Noisette Creek Apartment Building on Buist Avenue. Curry, a neighbor, heard a woman screaming and ran to the burning building to help.

Upon arriving, he saw a woman holding a baby hanging out of a second-story window and surrounded by smoke. He called for the mother, Daysha Lewis, to drop the 1-year-old to him. He caught the baby, and the mother jumped from the second-story window. The mother then told Curry that there was a second child in the apartment. Curry ran upstairs, kicked in the door and entered the apartment. Curry located 3-year-old Durtez Gordon about 12 feet inside the burning apartment and pulled the child to safety.

“Mr. Curry’s willingness to immediately come to the aid of his neighbors reflects the best of what we could hope for from our fellow citizens,” the chief said. “He displayed impressive decisiveness under trying conditions to call for the mother to drop the baby to safety and then rush to the aid of the other child. His willingness to fight his way into a burning building without protective equipment saved the life of a vulnerable child literally moments before a certain death.”

Curry also downplayed his bravery.

“I just did what I had do,” he said. “There wasn’t nothing to think about. I’m glad that God put me there.”

Durtez had bandages on his face as relatives held him at the meeting.

“The only thing I would like to say is to thank him for saving him,” Lewis said after the meeting.

He had third-degree burns over 70 percent of his body, and doctors gave him a 10 percent chance of surviving, according to his great-aunt, Willa Palmer.

“But God spoke to our hearts and told us he was going to be OK,” she said. “That’s what we held onto.”

He will have to wear bandages for a long time while he heals. Relatives tell him they’re his superman suit.

“We let him know he’s a little superhero, so he’s got to put his armor on,” Palmer said.

“He’s real tough, always determined,” said his grandmother, Leola Gordon. “ I think God gave him that tough, stubborn spirit for a reason.”

Reach Dave Munday at 937-5553.