Grandparents Thankful For Hero

Thursday, May 22nd 2008, 9:53 pm
By: News On 6

Two Tulsa grandparents say they almost lost their grandson to a lake-side accident. One moment 3-year-old Stanley Brown was there, the next he wasn't.

The News On 6's Ashli Sims reports a cadet's quick-thinking saved the day.

To some, Thunderbird Youth Academy is synonymous with troubled kids. To one grandmother, it means hero.

First thing you have to understand about Stanley Brown is he's full of curiosity, with a dash of mischief thrown in. Perhaps not the best combination when a 3-year-old is next to a body of water.

"He just slid down there and I said, 'Stanley, come back.' And instead of coming back he decided, he said he wanted to get in the water. And he just jumped in," said Edie Sturdivant.

Stanley's grandmother says if some cadets from Thunderbird Youth Academy hadn't been on a nearby rock, it would be no laughing matter.

"Oh those cadets are just wonderful. They are so, without a thought ya' know just reaction. They just jumped in and swooped him up," said Sturdivant.

That day in the park, Thunderbird turned out to be a lifesaver and the Sturdivants' went to Pryor to say thanks.

All the accolades make 18-year-old Eric Gilley a little red in the face.  He says he didn't think about it, he just did it.

"I just jumped in, expecting to touch bottom and stand up with the kids. But there was no bottom right there," said Eric Gilley of the spot of the rescue.

Gilley says he was determined to get the 3-year-old out of the water.

"I just tried to get him out the water and once I got him out the water. Once I got out the water, when I got out I was shaking. It was cold," said Gilley.

Thunderbird Youth Academy is a second chance for teenagers who've lost their way. Although it's known as a place for troubled kids, the program's director says the heroics weren't a shock.

"I can't say that I was surprised that one of our cadets did something good because they really potentially they all have that greatness in them," said Thunderbird Youth Academy Director Michell Graff.

While Gilley may be a thunderbird, for Stanley Brown, he's nothing short of a guardian angel.

Edie Sturdivant says Stanley wasn't too shaken up after the ordeal. In fact, right after he was rescued he wanted to go right back in the water.

Sturdivant says the first thing on the agenda this summer, swimming lessons.