Location: East St. Louis, Ill.
In June 2014, Tim Gruhlke, a special agent for CSX (No. 240), the international transportation company, was enjoying a vacation at Myrtle Beach. As he and his family packed up after a day at the pool, he heard a woman scream. Gruhlke ran over to find her panicking over her son’s body; he was on a lounge chair, and turning blue. The boy, Mitchell Burlin, had had a seizure in the pool, and his breathing had stopped. Grulkhe, who has worked in a variety of emergency response roles since he was 18, began administering CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, urging life into the small boy. Burlin slowly began to breathe and his eyes fluttered open. “Sorry I had to kiss you, little buddy,” Gruhlke told him. Burlin was rushed to the hospital, and Gruhlke went back to his hotel. “It wasn’t until I got to my room that I started bawling and lost it,” he says. It was his first time Gruhlke had responded to an emergency outside of work. “When you’re sitting at a pool in your swim trunks, with your kids, you aren’t expecting to jump in and save a life.” Since then, Gruhlke —“Uncle Tim” to Burlin—has kept in touch with the Burlins. Gruhlke, who also serves as president of the Missouri & Illinois Railroad Police Association, nominated Burlin, a railroad enthusiast, to be an honorary member.