In August 2016, Clovis police officer Curtis Shurtliff saved a 5-year-old boy from drowning in a lake.
Shurtliff, who was camping near Shaver Lake at the time of the incident, first heard screams from the parents of 5-year-old Gabriel. Shurtliff then rushed to the boy, getting water out of his lungs and performing CPR.
A year later, Shurtliff has been named National Law Officer of the Year. The recognition comes from The Forty & Eight, a charitable honor society made up of veterans.
“It’s pretty humbling. It’s a prestigious award,” Shurtliff said.
Looking back at the past year, Shurtliff said there are many moments that stand out.
“I have so many different jobs here at the police department,” he said. “Volunteering is probably one of the biggest ones, volunteering with the children in different schools.”
As for the unforgettable day at Shaver Lake, Shurtliff said it was a matter of fate.
“We changed our camping date. We weren’t even supposed to be up there then,” Shurtliff said. “Then we were out and about hiking in the mountains and we came back early. We weren’t even supposed to be at camp at that time.”
Having been a paramedic for eight years, Shurtliff understood that Gabriel needed a miracle.
“Myself and my sons and my wife ran down there and we started doing CPR,” Shurtliff said. “I looked at the kid and I knew that there is nothing you can do to bring him back. You look at the pupils and you know they’re dilated and the brain is sweltered to the point where the kid is going to be brain dead.”
But Shurtliff didn’t want to say any of that to Gabriel’s mother.
“I asked [Gabriel’s mother] if she believed in God and Jesus Christ as her savior and she said she did,” Shurtliff said. “So we prayed and right as I said, ‘In Jesus name I pray,’ I got a pulse from the child. He started to breathe after that.”
Shurtliff will be honored at the “98th Promenade & 54th Rendezvous Nationale” in Bossien City, Louisiana on Sept. 15. In addition, he has also been honored by the American Legion and was named Officer of the Year by Clovis PD in 2016.