Page 19

soon ran out of oxygen but he cut it enough they could pry it up Crown Royal. In an essay, Cox described the adversities Shaver to get my leg out. had overcome to become a fireman. “Curtiss has never let his “If the South Alabama Electric boys hadn’t responded to my disability hold him back,” Cox says. “He expects to be treated like cries for help, I would not be here today. The ambulance took everyone else. He puts his heart into everything he does.” me to the hospital in Troy and I was later transferred to Dothan Contestants were chosen by vote on Facebook. Shaver received by helicopter where my leg was amputated and I spent a month the most votes and won. As part of his award, The Brickyard 400 in the hospital. When I got out, I pretty much did my own rehab race held July 29, 2012, was officially named the Curtiss Shaver for about six months and then started using my artificial leg. Us- Brickyard 400. He went to Indianapolis, Ind., to attend the race ing the artificial leg was hard for one to two years, but now it is named in his honor. Before the race, a surprise celebration was just second nature.” held in Shaver’s honor in Troy. “I was just honored and humbled Having a good family support system was important for his at winning the award and I was proud to represent firemen across recovery. “My parents Jimmy and LaRue Shaver and brother Jim the country,” he says. were great,” he says. “My girlfriend at the time of the accident, Twenty years ago, a teenage Curtiss Shaver lay trapped in a Traci Garner, was so good to me I decided I had better marry combine awaiting death. A paramedic “getting down” on a wailthat girl. We have three ing siren as he rushed to children: Zane, 11, Jolea, 9, Shaver’s aid gave him new “If the South Alabama Electric hope. Just a few years later, and Sophie, 2.” boys hadn’t responded to my Within a year Shaver another young paramedic was doing many of the was speeding down the cries for help, I would not be things he had done before road with red lights flashhere today.” losing his leg. And someing and now he was the thing else happened. one “getting down” on a “I kept thinking about how hard my rescuers worked to save siren as he sped to an injured person’s aid. That paramedic was a me,” he says. “I began wanting to be a part of this profession that young man by the name of Curtiss Shaver. saved lives and helped people. I developed an overwhelming Today at 37, Shaver is just as dedicated to helping people as he desire to be a fireman and paramedic. I volunteered with the was when he first joined the Goshen Volunteer Fire Department Goshen Volunteer Fire Department, became an EMT, and went as a teenager, and the citizens of Goshen and Pike County are to work with Haynes Ambulance. mighty proud of their very own Hometown Hero -- Lt. Curtiss “During this time I was constantly applying with the Troy Fire Shaver. A Department to be a fireman. I got a break when Mayor Jimmy Ben Norman is a writer from Highland Home, Ala. Lunsford and Fire Chief Ray Rhodes hired me,” says Shaver. Current Troy Fire Chief Thomas Outlaw has nothing but praise Troy Fire Department Lt. Curtiss Shaver gives 110 percent for Shaver. “Curtiss is just a fine fellow, excellent family man and a every day, say his co-workers. truly dedicated fireman,” he says. “He has never expected anything but to be treated like the other firemen. He gives you 110 percent every day.” Shaver received second and third degree burns fighting a fire shortly before he was sent to fire school in Ozark. “I created quite a scene when I showed up at fire school with one leg and second and third degree burns,” Shaver says with a laugh. But he made it through fire school and excelled at his job, rising through the ranks to his present rank of lieutenant. Shaver got an opportunity to test his organizational skills recently at a school bus wreck near the Old Barn Restaurant in the Goshen community. “We had approximately 40 children, most with at least some injury, to deal with all at once. You just have to triage and tag each one according to the seriousness of their injuries. The community came together fast and Old Barn owners Johnny and Beverly Taylor opened up their home as a “field hospital” and I began classifying injuries. We had the least injured on the porch and the more serious injuries were on beds in the Taylor home. I didn’t want to overload any one hospital so we used Luverne and Troy hospitals. As it turned out we didn’t have any life-threatening injuries.” Because of his dedication to his job and true desire to help people in need, a fellow fire department lieutenant, Brandy Cox, entered Shaver in the “Your Hero’s Name Here” contest, also known as The Hometown Hero Award contest, sponsored by Alabama Living

october 2012  19

Alabama Living SMEC October 2012  

Alabama Living SMEC October 2012