Magazine article Corrections Today

Correctional Officer's Quick Actions Give Victim a Second Chance at Life

Magazine article Corrections Today

Correctional Officer's Quick Actions Give Victim a Second Chance at Life

Article excerpt

On July 5, 2011, Robert Gibbons was looking forward to enjoying a clay of boating and fishing at a nearby lake. As he and his fiance were heading home to prepare for the outing, they came upon a wrecked truck and pulled over to assist. "When we came around the turn and saw the truck and saw it was on fire, I could only think of my fear of dying in a burning vehicle, and I knew without a doubt that I had to help the person or people that were in the truck get out," Gibbons said.

Gibbons, who has been a correctional officer at SCI Huntingdon in Huntingdon, Pa., since 2001, heard the man inside screaming, "Help me." He told his fiance to call 911 and block the scene so that he could hell) the victim. "The truck quickly became fully engulfed as I approached it. I knew I had little to no time to get him and go. But I put my fear aside and acted to help the person in need," he said. "I could have never lived with myself just leaving him there and not doing something when I could hear him screaming for help." Without a second thought, Gibbons reached into the car and grabbed the victim, Timothy Brookins, by the shoulders and pulled him out. His legs were on fire.

"After initially getting him out, I quickly patted the fire off his clothing. The truck started to whistle, the fire was raging and I knew that it was going to explode," Gibbons said. That's when Brookins told him he had a full tank of gas. Gibbons, who knows the importance of keeping a level and cool head from his more than 10 years in corrections, quickly dragged him to safety as the truck exploded and saturated the area with gasoline, moving the fire closer.

Gibbons performed a quick assessment for bleeding and broken bones on the victim, and he knew that his leg was broken. Brookins, an EMT, said that his ribs hurt, hut that he felt he had no spinal or neck injuries. …

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