Officer, two men hailed as heroes for saving lives

Thomas Gotbeter (right) was recognized by North Charleston Fire Chief Gregory Bulanow for saving a stranger’s life by performing CPR when the collapsed outside a convenience store.

Three North Charleston residents were recognized as 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: Thomas Gotbeter

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

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 performed CPR. He continued the compressions until a North Charleston crew arrived and took over patient care. Charleston County EMS then transported the man to a hospital.

In the days that followed, the man 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. “... Gotbeter’s selfless act to come to the aid of a stranger reflects the best of what we hope for from our fellow citizens.”

Gotbeter’s 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.”

Gotbeter said he learned CPR as part of his required training as an electrician.

Andrew Glover Glover is a North Charleston police officer. On April 15, he 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 still asleep in their rooms. Glover woke them, and they exited the home safely and credited Glover with saving their lives.

Glover’s effort 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. “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, who has been on the force for eight years, was a firefighter for seven years in the Air Force. “It was pretty much instinct.”

Reginald Curry 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.

Upon arriving, he saw a woman holding a baby at 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 window. The mother then told Curry that there was a second child in the apartment. Curry ran upstairs and kicked in the door. He located 3-year-old Durtez Gordon inside the burning apartment and pulled the child to safety.

Curry “ 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,” the chief said. “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 of Curry.

The boy 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 on to.”

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.