Robert Cathey, who gave CPR to a drowned toddler Feb. 26, was commended by the city and was able to embrace the young boy he saved.
Cathey held 17-month-old Sayeed Anwar and shook hands with Sayeed’s father, Zab, in front of the dais in the council chambers.
After Cathey received a commendation from police Chief Gary Hampton, the reunion moved to the lobby of City Hall, where Cathey and his wife and children met with Zab and his wife, Maria, who held Sayeed in her arms.
“I don’t think words can describe what it’s like to see this young child run around,” said Zab Anwar, sighing while looking at his son. “God gave us a second chance.”
He added that he was thankful Cathey was in the right place at the right time to intervene.
According to Hampton and previous reports, Cathey was playing football in the street on Cole Lane on Feb. 26 when he heard a man — later identified as Zab Anwar — yelling for help.
A reserve police officer in San Francisco, Cathey administered CPR. Sayeed, who was unconscious after reportedly drowning in a backyard pond, began to cough up water and cry, according to Hampton’s report.
He was flown to a nearby hospital for more treatment, but according to his family, he is a happy and healthy toddler.
“It’s great (to see Sayeed),” Cathey said, playfully touching the nose of the boy he helped rescue. “He’s got a full life ahead of him.”
City Council action
• The City Council agreed unanimously, with Mayor Brent Ives absent, to follow the advice of Tracy Fire Department Chief Al Nero to continue the existing dispatch arrangement for local fire protection.
Nero had been instructed to investigate new ways of dispatching the city’s firefighters, as the City Council wondered if folding fire dispatch into the Tracy Police Department’s internal system would improve local service.
Calls for Tracy fire or paramedic service are handled by Lifecom, a communications center under contract with 14 San Joaquin County fire departments. The cities of Stockton and Lodi are the only two fire departments in the county that do not contract with Lifecom.
According to Nero, the most Tracy has paid for Lifecom dispatching in any one year is $115,000. He estimated that having Tracy police route fire calls would cost about $380,000 a year, in addition to “start-up costs” of $500,000.
He added that Lifecom’s dispatch had gained in both quality and speed since his department increased communication with the communications center.
“The working relationship with Lifecom is greatly improved, especially over the past 18 months or so,” Nero said. “We’ve seen a steady improvement in those areas.”
Though Nero expressed no doubt in the Tracy Police Department — which was just approved for an upgraded dispatch system that would allow fire and police officers to communicate directly — he advised the council to continue with Lifecom for the time being.
“This is not merely kicking the can down the road,” Nero said. “This is an important decision. We want to make sure that the decision that is made is the right decision, made for the right reasons.”
• The council adopted an updated groundwater management plan 4-0.
According to city analyst Vanessa Carrera, the amendment was a formal step to comply with changes in state law. Steve Bayley told the council that passing the update only codified what the city was already doing.
“It retains local control over the groundwater,” Bayley said. “We fail to adopt this ordinance, the state has the ability to take over monitoring the groundwater.”
He said that could damage the city’s eligibility for grants and other programs.