Campus News

UB employees save child’s life

Russell Stith and Dave Burgett

UB employees Russell Stith, right, and Dave Burgett came to the rescue of a young child who had stopped breathing and had no pulse. The child is reported to be doing well. Photo: Douglas Levere


Published October 23, 2014

“By all accounts, Mr. Stith saved the child’s life.”
Police Chief Gerald Schoenle

The woman ran, screaming, to the loading dock at the Beane Center last Friday afternoon, a child in her arms. He was not breathing and had no pulse.

And thanks to the quick action of two UB employees, the child was revived and is reported to be doing well.

Russell Stith and Dave Burgett, both plumbers in University Facilities – Operations, were working in the plumbing shop in the Beane Center on the North Campus when they heard the woman’s calls for help. She had been waiting in her car outside the building when she noticed the child had become unresponsive.

The 5-year-old boy had a tracheotomy tube that had become obstructed, said Stith, a captain with the Ellicott Creek Volunteer Fire Company and former EMT. Burgett stabilized the child and Stith use a suction unit supplied by the woman to suction the tracheotomy tube. The child began breathing again and they performed CPR until his pulse returned.

University Police responded, along with Twin City Ambulance and Getzville Fire Company. The child was taken to Women’s and Children’s Hospital. He is reported to be doing well.

“By all accounts, Mr. Stith saved the child’s life,” said UB Police Chief Gerald W. Schoenle Jr.

Stitch told the UB Reporter it “feels great” to save a life and “put the training to use.”

He said that, “unfortunately,” Friday’s incident was not the first time he’s had to respond to such an event.


Sincere congrats and thanks to both Russell Stith and Dave Burgett for saving a life. Awesome job!


Pam Stephens-Jackson

A sincere thank you to Russell Stith and Dave Burgett for an awesome job!


Tirzah Evege-Thompson

Great work Russell and Dave!


Joshua Sticht


Great job! Very impressive! Thank you!


Lee Argen  

Congratulations to you both!


Mary Jo Brummer

Amazing! Great job.


Joyce Ansel


On behalf of the executive board of CSEA Local 602 here at UB, we can't thank these fellow brothers enough for being brave and doing a selfless thing for another human being. We are proud of our brothers and commend them for their acts of kindness during what could have been a horrible tragedy. Impressive, amazing and truly a definition of good people. Great job guys!


Angie Zitto


Great job, keep up the great work!


Bev Nicholls and your family and friends from Canada

Great job guys! Congratulations!


Surya Pulavarti

I saw the UB article and had to knock off an email to thank you for the outstanding job you did to save this child's life. I also sent around an email to faculty and staff, just in case they missed this.


You are both longtime, remarkable UB employees, but this just goes to show us how special you both are.  We walk among great men and women here at UB every day and don't know it most of the time.


It's my honor to acknowledge you in this email for your contributions to UB and our community.


This has touched everyone's heart here at UB. Thank you.


Shirley Kotecki