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City of Pacific Grove comes together to honor the heroes who rescued Steve Bruemmer

PACIFIC GROVE, Calif. (KION-TV)- About a year ago, a great white shark bit Steve Bruemmer at Lover’s Point in Pacific Grove.

He was saved by the help of three good Samaritans on the beach that morning.

On Saturday, those heroes were honored at Lover’s Point Park as they were awarded Carnegie Hero Fund Medals for their courageous act. 

It was a beautiful scene as the community came together to honor Bruemmer's incredible progress since the incident and the people who helped save him at Lover’s Point last June.

“I swam a mile and a half and just 150 yards from the beach,” Bruemmer said. “A great white shark got me. It was predation. According to the shark experts, he came from below and an ambush violently grabbed me, flipped me over, grabbed my arm, flipped me over, came halfway out of the air, and then went back down and then spit me out about five feet underwater.” 

During the experience, Steve said he did not panic, but knew at one point he needed to cry for help. 

“And there was so much blood there was no way I could swim that last 150 yards,” Bruemmer said. “So the only option I had was to cry out and count on the kindness of strangers. And unbelievably, the people who could hear me were a first responder, a police officer, a healthcare professional, a nurse and a surf rescue guy and the three of them on board came to me and got me out of the water.”

Paul Bandy is an off-duty police officer. He helped save Steve on June 22, 2022. 

“It's an incredible honor to be recognized,” Brandy said. “And just the most blessed part of this entire day is to see Steve doing so well. And to have him here with us with all these people, celebrating his life and his recovery has just been amazing. It's very humbling.” 

Paul’s wife, Aimee Johns, a registered nurse, did not think that Steve was going to survive. 

“I was seeing the femur I was seeing, you know, the leg was half amputated,” Johns said. “He was losing consciousness in the water as we were bringing him to shore, turning various shades of gray. I was afraid that he wasn't going to make it. If he survived it all. I was thinking he would lose his limb.” 

Nicholas Paul Rottler, one of Steve’s trauma surgeons from that day, said that Steve’s progress from that day to now is tremendous. 

“He's made tremendous progress,” Rottler said. “You know, considering the injuries he had initially. I'm impressed that he's walking and doing as much independently as he can, you know, he'd mentioned wanting to get back into bIking and stuff.”

Steve is ready for this chapter in his life to be behind him, and move on to just living his best quality of life that he can.

“This last year was a year of survival and rehabilitation,” Bruemmer said. “Now I'm done. The shark year is over for me. And I'm just gonna go live my life. I restarted volunteering at the aquarium during the book club, a bunch of other things. I live my life and I'm in great shape.”

Steve also stressed the importance of donating blood and that if it weren’t for blood donors, he would not be alive today. 

Paul and Aimee also wanted to stress as first responders the importance of having your phone in a water safe bag on the water in case of emergencies just like this one. 

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Lindsey Selzer


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