Shaver speaks ‘from the heart’ about his journey to be a firefighter

Published 11:00 pm Wednesday, February 13, 2013


When Curtiss Shaver was 18, he spent at least 45 minutes trapped in a farm combine waiting to be rescued.

“It had me all the way up to my hip. The machine was still running and was trying to take me in,” Shaver recalled. “At that moment, I knew it was bad. I had a lot of time to pray.”

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Shaver was the guest speaker at the February installment of Female Factor and was asked to speak “from the heart.”

Shaver chose to tell his story of becoming a Troy firefighter.

“I know God heard me that day,” Shaver said.

A South Alabama Electric Cooperative crew had gotten their truck stuck nearby and heard Shaver’s cries for help. They found him and turned the machine off. The Troy Fire Department soon responded and a passerby, Malcolm Dickey, helped to free Shaver.

Shaver was taken to the hospital in Troy and then flown to Dothan. A portion of his leg was amputated.

“After a long rehabilitation time, I got back on my feet,” Shaver said. “I realized that I could still do a lot of stuff.”

And attitude helped Shaver achieve his goals.

“I was so thankful the Lord gave me a second chance that I never got depressed,” Shaver said. “It never really crossed my mind to get down.”

Until his accident, Shaver said he’d never thought about being anything but a farmer. But the experience changed his perception.

“I really believe it was the Good Lord working in me and also a feeling that I needed to repay a debt,” Shaver said.

Shaver began working as a volunteer firefighter in Goshen and said he never missed a call. Later he began working for Haynes Ambulance as he tried for positions at the Troy Fire Department.

“I was trying to repay what someone gave to me. I couldn’t get enough of it. I felt that yearning and desire and it just grew in me and grew in me,” Shaver said.

Lt. Paramedic Shaver’s fight to join the Troy Fire Department paid off and he has now been serving the city for 12 years.

Last year, Shaver was nominated by fellow firefighter Brandy Cox for a competition sponsored by Crown Royal. Shaver was chosen to be in the top five for a Facebook vote and won the “Your Hero’s Name Here” contest where he was flown to Indianapolis and the Brickyard 400 was renamed the Curtiss Shaver Brickyard 400.

Shaver was humbled by the nomination and experience, but said he isn’t a hero.

“Everyone has that moment they get knocked down,” Shaver said. “I’m not special. I just got up.”

Instead, it is passersby who do the right thing, like Dickey, and teachers who go the extra mile to inspire who are heroes.

Shaver shared, “In our minds, those are the true heroes.”