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Gift of Life
Airman Basic Shelby Goff sits with her 6-year-old brother, Amadeaus Foster, at their home in Grand Junction, Colo. (Courtesy photo, Dean Humphrey, The Daily Sentinel)
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An Airman's gift: BMT-taught CPR saves her brother's life

Posted 9/27/2012   Updated 9/27/2012 Email story   Print story


by Mike Joseph
JBSA-Lackland Public Affairs

9/27/2012 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- If the Air Force needs to validate the importance of teaching Self Aid Buddy Care in basic training, a former trainee's brother is living proof of its effectiveness.

Airman Basic Shelby Goff used CPR, a technique taught during SABC, to revive her 6-year-old brother, Amadeaus Foster of Grand Junction, Colo., after he nearly drowned in a downtown San Antonio motel swimming pool Aug. 4, the day after his older sister graduated from basic training at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

Now assigned to the 343rd Training Squadron, Goff continues to train on base at the security forces technical training school.

"In my experience, this is the first time we've had somebody employ that skill so swiftly, so expertly.

It's quite impressive," said Maj. Michael Cohen, 343rd TRS deputy commander.

"In most cases, 999 times out of a thousand, you're not going to have to put that training into action, but the one time that you do have to, it pays for itself," said Chief Master Sgt. Eric Stewart, 343rd TRS chief enlisted manager.

"When I was taking the CPR class, I thought I'd never have to use it," said Goff. "When you actually do, it just hits, and you know what to do. You don't have to think twice about it."

The family is glad 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 found her brother listless 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, but not knowing CPR, she screamed out for help from her older sister.

"He didn't have a heartbeat; he wasn't breathing," Goff said.

She 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 SABC 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.

The parents, Jack and Brandy Foster, witnessed the incredible sight of their daughter Shelby methodically saving her brother's life.

"When I came around the corner and picked him up, I was a nervous wreck and (Shelby) was still calm and collected. Just amazing," Jack Foster said.

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. " (Compiled from articles by Sig Christenson, San Antonio
Express-News, and Duffy Hayes, The Daily Sentinel, Grand Junction, Colo.)

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