ALEXANDRIA BAY, N.Y. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers Gregory Baker, Leslie Mathews and Joseph Casterline, from the Port of Alexandria Bay, were presented today with the CBP Commissioner’s Humanitarian Award by Rose Hilmey, acting director of field operations at the Buffalo Field Office.
The Humanitarian Award is given to recognize employees who demonstrate compassion and competence, exceeding normal expectations, in assisting individuals in extreme circumstances. Extreme circumstances are considered life-threatening situations requiring an immediate medical response. Out of CBP’s workforce of 60,000 employees, rarely does an employee receive this prestigious award. The training, skills, and initiative of these officers were paramount in saving a life.
On March 31, CBP Chief Winston Grover was working at the port and suddenly collapsed to the floor. CBP Officers Gregory Baker, Leslie Mathews and Joseph Casterline, who are also trained emergency medical technicians, found that Chief Grover's pulse had stopped and he was not breathing. The first responders reestablished Grover’s heartbeat and breathing, utilizing a portable automated external defibrillator.
As Chief Grover regained consciousness, a local paramedic joined the three responding CBP officers and performed an electrocardiogram. A paramedic told Chief Grover that he had suffered a heart attack, and administered oxygen and aspirin.
Chief Grover was further stabilized by an ambulance crew summoned from Thousand Islands Rescue. The crew transported Grover to the local fire department helipad where he was flown to Upstate Medical Center in Syracuse, N.Y.
The CBP family at the Alexandria Bay Port of Entry and Chief Grover's immediate family were extremely thankful for the quick actions the CBP officers took to save the life of one of their own.
“Without the swift action of these officers and their knowledge of first aid, this situation may not have had a happy ending,” said Director Hilmey. “Their courage and prompt action reflect their dedication to CBP and its mission,” Hilmey said.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.