“She was actually my angel that day.” CHRISTUS nurse earns ‘Good Samaritan’ award for life-saving efforts

John Zumbro (left) and Cortney Shelton meet for the first time. Shelton is a CHRISTUS Trinity...
John Zumbro (left) and Cortney Shelton meet for the first time. Shelton is a CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances nurse who helped tend to Zumbro after he suffered a severe motorcycle accident.
Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 8:22 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - In life, sometimes people get placed in the right place at the right time, and that seems to be the case for one local CHRISTUS nurse honored today with an brand-new award.

The moment John Zumbro and Cortney Shelton truly met was an emotional one at the CHRISTUS Nursing Excellence Award Ceremony. It was there that Shelton received the first-ever “Good Samaritan” Award from CHRISTUS Trinity Mother Frances. However, their paths first crossed in May 2020. As Zumbro was traveling on Interstate 20 on his motorcycle, he saw something on the side of the road. He took his eyes off the road and that was when the accident struck.

“I was like, oh no. Right then and there I felt the front tire get soft and I looked to the right and there was no median there,” Zumbro said. “I left the road. Last thing I remember saying was, ‘Dear God, help me.’”

Zumbro was thrown from his motorcycle going 70 mph and landed in a tall area of grass off the side of the highway. That same day Shelton was headed to see family and took I-20, which she didn’t normally do.

“Now I look back and it was God speaking,” Shelton said.

Shelton’s daughter saw the accident and urged her mom to stop.

“The grass was two to three feet and his motorcycle and him were out of sight. So I didn’t see it, so I was like, no he went on, and she was like, ‘No he flew off his motorcycle.’ So then of course I went into fight or flight mode and pulled over. You never know what you’re going to walk up on and that was the most antsy part of it was what am I going to see? I just want him to be alive,” she said.

Shelton said he was breathing when she arrived and she immediately stabilized his neck with her feet.

“I woke up with a young lady standing over me with her legs on both sides of my head and she goes, ‘Don’t move, you’ve been in a motorcycle wreck.’”

Shelton stayed with Zumbro until the ambulance and helicopter came. They’ve stayed in touch, but today was their first time meeting.

“It was amazing. It was emotional, that’s for sure. I thought I was a pretty strong guy but when I got to meet her face-to-face… she’s an awesome person, she really is,” Zumbro said. “And I’m able to stand up, had I not listened to her I’d been either quadriplegic or, well the grass was so tall had she not seen me, God knows who would have located me. I’d been laying there forever.”

“I was surprised for sure. To me it was just doing what I would do. I take care of people, that’s what God has always led me to do. So what I stopped and did that day is something I would do a thousand times over,” Shelton said.

Zumbro said he still has no feeling in his hands and limited use of his arms but is on the road to recovery.

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