Men make difference of life and death for young boys

Local heroes honored by Arapahoe sheriff’s office

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Sometimes instinct just takes over, and when it does, lives can be saved.

Meet Richard Mandeville, Daniel Bertram and Troy Steadman, who just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and because of it, will now watch two young boys grow up to become men.

Mandeville, a 47-year-old airline pilot from Highlands Ranch, was enjoying a 90-degree, sunny afternoon with his 6-year-old son Jack at Cherry Creek State Park on Sept. 7, when he saw two women in full burqas, running down the beach screaming, pointing to the water shortly before 6 p.m.

“The first thing I thought was that is a lot of clothes on for it being so hot,” he said. “They were about 50 yards down the beach, and I looked and saw Daniel coming in with the two boys and just looked at my son and said ‘follow me now.’”

Bertram, a Centennial resident and 2006 graduate of Arapahoe High School, had been at the beach that day with Steadman and some friends. Upon seeing where 5-year-old boys Mutasem Masoud and Ibrahim Bdawi had become submerged, he pulled them both out of the water and raced to shore with a boy over each arm.

It’s the stuff movies are made of. Bertram laid them down and Steadman and Mandeville, who had sprinted onto the scene with his son trailing behind, each began administering CPR. Mandeville had first learned CPR in the 1980s as a cadet at the Air Force Academy, but didn’t think he would ever have to use it. Retrained and certified a year and a half ago, he said instinct just took over.

Ten minutes later, amidst panic and yelling from family members, the boys were coughing up water and vomiting.

“They were literally dead,” said Bertram, who has since signed up to take CPR, saying he saw firsthand the difference it can make.

That difference is life and death, he said, encouraging everyone to take a course.

“I’m not a hero, I’m not Superman,” said Mandeville after the three were recognized with life-saving medals by the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office Oct. 1 in a personal ceremony that involved the boys. “I’m just a guy that had CPR training that was on a beach with his son and ran to help two boys in need. Somehow it all worked out.”

For those two boys and their families, however, Mandeville, as well as Steadman and Bertram, are nothing but heroes.

“They changed all our lives,” said Abdelsalam Masoud, father of Mutasem. “I thank God for sending them at the right time and that they knew CPR. ... The gratitude we feel today will stay with us for the rest of our lives.”