SANTA CRUZ, Calif. February 2, 2023 — In June 2022, Paul Bandy, Aimee Johns and Heath Braddock worked together to save the life of Steve Bruemmer when he suffered a shark bite while swimming near Lover’s Point beach in Pacific Grove, Calif.
For their heroic and lifesaving actions, Paul, Aimee and Heath received the Red Cross Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action in a ceremony at St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church in Pacific Grove, on January 12, 2023.
“The Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action is given to individuals, like Paul, Aimee and Heath, who step up in an emergency situation and help save or sustain a life,” said Michele Averill, CEO for the Central Coast Chapter of the Red Cross. “These individuals exemplify the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies and I could not be more honored to commend each of them for their willingness to help a stranger in distress.”
Heath was teaching surfing lessons to a group of teens on Lover’s Point beach when someone alerted him to the shark bite. He immediately grabbed two surfboards and rushed into the water. Steve was 150 yards off the beach, severely injured, bleeding and unable to swim. Meanwhile, Paul and Aimee were stand-up paddleboarding when they were alerted to the incident taking place. They rushed over as fast as they could, providing additional help to Heath. The three of them worked together and managed to get Steve onto Heath’s spare surfboard and brought him back to the beach. Paul called 911 from his paddleboard and shouted towards the people on the beach, asking for tourniquets to stop Steve’s bleeding, and then provided first aid until the paramedics arrived. The bravery of Paul, Aimee and Heath, combined with their skills and the speed of their actions, was the key to saving Steve’s life.
“When Paul, Aimee, and Heath witnessed their neighbor in distress, after a bite by a great white shark, they sprung into action to save his life, exhibiting bravery and care that deserves recognition,” said Rep. Jimmy Panetta. “Thanks to this off-duty Sacramento police officer, Folsom nurse, and business owner and surfer, we avoided tragedy at Lovers Point beach in Pacific Grove this June and Steve Bruemmer was able to recover from his injuries and return to his family. This trio not only saved a life that day but provided inspiration for others to do the same when called upon and deserve this honor.”
The awards ceremony was held alongside a Red Cross blood drive, organized by St. Mary’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church and hosted in honor of Steve and the lifesaving blood he received following the incident.
“It’s easy to say, ‘It could be you.’ You should donate blood because some day you might need it. But that’s not the right answer,” Steve said. “We are best when we take care of each other, when we come together as a community, take care of each other, and love one another. We do that when we give blood. I can’t think of a more tangible, meaningful, important way of caring for each other.”
To read Steve’s incredible story of survival and hope, visit the local Red Cross blog.
Red Cross training gives people the knowledge and skills to act in an emergency and save a life. A variety of online, blended (online and in-person skills session) and classroom courses are available at redcross.org/takeaclass.
Visit LifesavingAwards.org to nominate and recognize an individual or group of individuals who have used the skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course to help save or sustain a life.
Every two seconds, someone in the U.S. needs blood. To make an appointment to donate blood or platelets, or for more information, simply download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit RedCrossBlood.org, call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). All blood types are needed to ensure a reliable supply for patients.
About American Red Cross of the Central Coast
With offices in Monterey, San Benito, and Santa Cruz Counties, the American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, visit our website at redcross.org/centralcoast or call us at (831) 624-6921. You may also find us on Facebook and Twitter.