Adam Gleana and his mom usually head to Gulfport Beach on the weekend, but when they arrived this past Saturday and saw the Aquamania crowds, they headed further west than usual. Russ Matter decided to enter the Recycle Regatta, and he headed down to the beach a few hours before the event. Cindy Dabill and Cindy Bayes had other plans, but their son, Steve, wanted to go fishing. They headed to Gulfport Beach.
If any of those things had happened differently, it might have cost a three-year-old boy his life at Saturday’s Aquamania.
Gleana, 11, was in the water near other kids when he noticed a younger boy floating face down and not moving. A few older boys were closer but didn’t want to walk through the sea grass, so Gleana went to the boy and rolled him over.
“I went to go get him and an adult came,” he said.
That’s when Matter stepped in. He pulled the boy out of the water and brought him to the beach, where Dabill and Bayes – a paramedic and RN, respectively – checked his vitals. The child had no pulse and wasn’t breathing, so they began two-person CPR.
Gleana’s mother, Anna, called 911. The 911 operator wanted a cross street, but the St. Petersburg resident wasn’t sure, so she asked the operator to tell the responders she was west of the Casino. Gulfport Fire Department was in the parking lot in case of an emergency, but because of the crowds, couldn’t hear shouts for help.
“The place was packed,” Bayes said. Once the 911 operator understood where the boy was on the beach, she dispatched the fire department, who took over from Dabill and Bayes. By the time they loaded the child onto the ambulance, paramedics say he was conscious and recognized his babysitter.
First responders brought the boy to All Children’s Hospital. He was released Sunday. His mother has asked that the media disclose neither her identity nor her son’s.
“The stars aligned,” Fire Chief Jim Marenkovic said of the four people who helped save the boy. Marenkovic, along with Gulfport City Council, will recognize Adam Gleana, Cindy Bayes and Cindy Dabill at Tuesday’s 7 p.m. council meeting. Marenkovic tells the Gabber he would like to honor Matter as well, but as of press time, had not heard back from him.
Contact Cathy Salustri at CathySalustri@theGabber.com.