UPDATE: Please be advised, the City Council meeting originally scheduled for June 13, 2016 has been cancelled. But, according to Castro’s LinkedIn page, he is now officially the Director of Sustainability at City of Orlando.
The City of Orlando will recognize Chris Castro, friend of the environment and woodland creatures everywhere, with his own special day, in recognition of his heroic efforts on May 28th.
City employee Chris Castro demonstrated great bravery in the rescuing of Marina Pobjecky from a deadly riptide at Cape Canaveral Seashore last month. Castro is the co-founder of IDEAS For Us, an international 501c3 nonprofit and UN-accredited NGO and the Senior Energy Advisor, Sustainability Program Manager for the City of Orlando.
The Mayor is expected to make the proclamation at the June 13 City Council meeting.
Castro posted the following account on his Facebook page concerning the incident:
“Unbelievable… I have been holding back this story, but 2 weeks ago I saved someone’s life.
It was a beautiful day surfing at Playa Linda and while hanging out in the shore break doing some body surfing, I witnessed a lady, Marina Pobjecky, in a panic and on the verge of drowning in the heavy riptide about 40 feet away from me… Looking around with no one else in sight remotely close to her, I immediately yelled at her to stay put and began swimming as fast as I possibly could towards her, not knowing I was being taken out by the Rip as well.
By the time I got to her she had taken on a serious amount of water and was in a very bad state. Her lips had turned blue, her face was red and a bit swollen, and eyes were completely shut. I looked back to the beach, and realized that the rip current had taken both of us nearly 200 feet away from the shore with no surfers or anyone past the break with a float or a board. Eventually I told her to stay calm and to help kick towards the beach. I started one-arming it and asking her to continue kicking to help us get back in the surf break, although she was completely out of it. Eventually after 5+ minutes of paddling I somehow barely reach bottom with 1 foot, and use my toes to dig into the sand to hold ourselves from not being taken back out past the break… Persistence and adrenaline kicks in, and I continue paddling with her half unconscious, until I eventually planted both feet and was able to walk her up on shore to safety. Minutes later, the fire rescue came to bring her back to a normal state and took her away on a stretcher to be hospitalized for the night. They said she had less than 1 minute to live before I got to her, and it was a miracle I was able to drag her out in those conditions without a float or a board on hand.
It was literally the most intense experience I have ever had (and hopefully will ever have). It reminded me how vulnerable we are, and how powerful Mother nature is…
On Wednesday of last week, Chris and Marina Pobjecky called Mayor Dyer and the City to share this story and how close she really was to leaving us. I have no words to share as to why or how we were able to make it out… but somehow we did.
And so today I was surprised to hear that Mayor Dyer will be reading an official proclamation at the City Council hearing this Monday “to recognize him for his courage and selflessness in risking his own life to save Ms. Pobjecky.” This is certainly not what I would have wanted. I did this because it was the right thing to do …”
Editor’s Note: In observance of Castro’s special day, we recommend cycling to work, picking up litter, and turning off the lights as you leave the room.