EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

September 27, 2009

Pelham man says and shows thanks for second chance

PELHAM — Pat "Paddy" Culbert, 61, of Pelham sustained a life-threatening stroke two years ago while on business in Baltimore.

To this day, he remembers only being behind the wheel of his car and feeling fuzzy. Others have told him that his car smashed into a police paddy wagon by the Renaissance Harborplace hotel.

Hotel staff rushed to help. They thought he had a heart attack. But the hotel's security director, Cephas Thomas, noticed Culbert was holding his seat and his tongue was darting in and out — signs of a stroke.

Within two minutes, Thomas had Culbert packed in ice, slowing the flow of blood and, eventually, making possible an amazing recovery and second chance at life for Culbert. Thirty minutes after his stroke, he was transported to Mercy Medical Center.

Two weeks later, unable to talk or walk, he was flown north and transported to Northeast Rehabilitation Hospital in Salem.

Today, therapists and others at the hospital call Paddy Culbert the "Miracle Man."

He no longer works, but does stained glass and pottery. He is also engaged to be married to Darlene Turcotte. His first wife died several years ago.

Early in his recovery, when Culbert started to talk again, he said he wanted to return to Baltimore to thank the man who saved his life. But first, he wanted to feel strong and aware enough to thank him and the staff properly.

Last Saturday he did that.

Why was returning to Baltimore to thank Cephas Thomas and the staff one of your first thoughts?

"I knew I had to go back. I had to thank the people. I had an obligation to thank the people. What do you do when someone saves your life? I had to go back."

What did you say to the man who saved your life?

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