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AdventHealth supply chain resident Michael Ciurea knew he was going in the water on a recent Saturday—just not in a retention pond.
Driving with Jeffrey Brownlow, a financial analyst for AdventHealth Global Missions, the two made their way for a relaxing day at Ponce Inlet beach when they saw the hazard lights of a parked car near Maitland Boulevard in Orlando. In just a few moments, they would be doing what countless caregivers at AdventHealth do every day.
The drivers of the parked car quickly pointed out to Michael and Jeffrey that a silver SUV had driven into a nearby pond and was completely submerged with a man still inside. “From that moment on, I think just pure adrenaline kicked in, and it was just like, ‘Go,’” Michael said.
Already in swimming trunks, the two threw off their shirts and jumped in, swimming down and back up in several attempts to unbuckle the man inside, unlock the car door and bring him safely to shore.
“By that point, a couple of people had gathered, and we yelled out if anyone knew CPR.” Michael said. “I’ve taken the course, but confidence kind of goes out the window when you’re there.”
With one bystander offering to help, Michael and Jeffrey pumped the man’s chest, kept his air passage open and checked for a pulse until EMS arrived minutes later. Not long after, the gentleman, who did show signs of life, was strapped to a gurney and driven off.
They never found out how the SUV got into the pond. Nor if the elderly man was okay. But two weeks later, the man’s daughter contacted Michael and Jeffrey.
After weeks in the hospital, she said she finally got to have her dad back home.
“That was a really emotional experience when she reached out,” said Michael, who guessed that just a couple more minutes underwater could have been the difference between life and death.
Michael says he doesn’t think he’ll quit his day job in supply chain to become a caregiver anytime soon. He’s just happy to be of service, whether it’s in the office, or on the side of the road. It’s what drew him to work for AdventHealth in the first place.
“Being able to be used in any way is great, and to help out when needed, you just never know when,” he said. “God just knows where we need to be and when we need to be there.”