AIRMAN SAVES LITTLE BROTHER'S LIFE - 'He didn't have a heartbeat; he wasn't breathing'
By Mike Joseph , JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs
/ Published January 07, 2013
JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AETCNS) -- If the Air Force needs to validate the importance of teaching Self Aid Buddy Care in basic military training, a former trainee's little brother is living proof of its effectiveness.
Airman Basic Shelby Goff used CPR, a technique taught during basic, to revive her 6-year-old brother, Amadeaus Foster of Grand Junction, Colo., Aug. 4. The boy nearly drowned in a downtown San Antonio motel swimming pool the day after his older sister graduated from basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.
"In my experience, this is the first time we've had somebody employ that skill so swiftly, so expertly," said Maj. Michael Cohen, 343rd Training Squadron deputy commander. "It's quite impressive."
"In most cases, 999 times out of a thousand, you're not going to have to put that training into action," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Stewart, 343rd TRS chief enlisted manager. "But the one time that you do have to, it pays for itself."
Now assigned to the 343rd TRS, Goff continues to train on base at the security forces technical training school.
"When I was taking the CPR class, I thought I'd never have to use it," Goff said. "When you actually do, it just hits. ... You don't have to think twice about it."
The family will have a merry Christmas because the 18-year-old Airman gave the class her full attention.
Goff was relaxing with her brother and sister at a motel swimming pool the day after graduation when the near tragedy occurred.
Her younger sister, 15-year-old Anastasia Foster, was watching Amadeaus. When she briefly looked away, then looked back, Amadeaus was nowhere to be seen. Anastasia jumped in and soon spotted her brother's limp form at the bottom of the pool. Amadeaus had slipped off an inner tube in the shallow end of the pool, hit his head on concrete and was knocked unconscious.
Anastasia got him out of the water and screamed for help. Goff sprang into action.
"He didn't have a heartbeat; he wasn't breathing," the Airman said solemnly.
Goff tilted her brother's head back and breathed air into his lungs. She then leaned his head to the side and pushed on his chest, repeating the cycle three times before Amadeaus responded.
"Because I'd been stressed during basic training, and because of the (Buddy Care) class, it was really easy for me to stay calm and deal with the situation," Goff said. "I knew at that point if I didn't do the right thing, he wouldn't make it."
Paramedics quickly arrived on scene and transported Amadeaus to a local hospital, where he stayed three days before going home to Grand Junction.
Jack and Brandy Foster witnessed the incredible sight of their daughter methodically saving their son's life.
"When I came around the corner and picked him up, I was a nervous wreck and (Shelby) was still calm and collected," Jack said. "Just amazing."
Goff's Air Force family rallied around her in the wake of the incident and during the media frenzy that followed. Her first sergeant, chaplain and commander all showed up at the hospital to support her and the family.
Goff said she was proud to be an Airman because, "I have a big family at home, but I have an even bigger family. No matter where I am, I have a wingman and somebody beside me."
Chuckling at the thought she was a hero and would get an award, as some local media implied, Goff said, "The fact is I do have an award, and that is my little brother's life. He's my best friend in the world."
NOTE: Story compiled from articles by Sig Christenson, San Antonio Express-News, and Duffy Hayes, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo. Courtesy photo by Dean Humphrey, The Daily Sentinel.