God Used Him as an Angel

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An excerpt from the book, “Stories of Pensacola’s Finest,” available on Amazon

When you see Greg Gordon, you gotta smile. He does that to you. He is usually smiling back. On top of that, he has one of those Hollywood looks – yep, he is what you think a hero is supposed to look like. The best part is…you want him to be a hero. You just like him.  

When he joined the Pensacola Police Department, the job fit like a glove! Greg excelled in every assignment. In great physical shape, he was one of the fastest officers the department has ever had. As a bicycle officer, he excelled in police biking maneuvers. During police bike demonstrations, Greg would not only ride his bicycle down a flight of stairs but turn around and ride it back up – smiling the whole way.  

Photo of Greg Gordon on bicycle patrol. Courtesy of Tony Giberson, Pensacola News Journal

July 3, 2009: The police telecommunicator came on the radio and reported that a 911 call had been received, but that there was no response on the other end. Was it an emergency? Maybe…maybe not. Greg responded. When he got close, he could see the smoke towering into the sky. The house was on fire.  

When he arrived, Greg asked the onlookers, “Is anyone inside?”

“Probably,” said one person. “Leroy Lett lives there. His truck is there, which means he usually is.” Greg rushed up to the front door and kicked it open. He was not expecting what would happen next. A wall of thick black noxious smoke hit him in the face. Oxygen was depleted. All he could breathe were fumes. He dropped to the floor where the air was at least breathable – sort of.

The fires shown on television and in the movies don’t show it. Two facts must be dealt with in real life – heavy black poisonous fumes and extreme heat. Greg heard what he thought was labored breathing. On his hands and knees, he crawled into the blazing furnace. He couldn’t see it, but he felt a man’s body – a big man. Maybe it was adrenaline, or maybe it was the fact that Greg was in great shape. Probably both, but with great effort and labored breathing, he was able to drag the man outside to safety.

When he finally got to the front door, Greg was met by Sgt. Robert Hurst. Together, they got the victim onto the front lawn and began life-saving efforts until Emergency Medical Services arrived. When Sgt. Hurst looked at Greg, he found him a few yards away coughing and struggling to breathe. Sgt. Hurst ordered him to the emergency room. Both Mr. Leroy Lett and Officer Gordon fully recovered.

In a later interview with the Pensacola News Journal’s Sean Dugas, Leroy Lett explained his hopeless predicament: “I tried to unlock the back door to escape but couldn’t. Then my lungs quit. I knew I was finished. I was through, so I started talking to God.” With no hope of getting out alive, Mr. Lett did the only thing he could think of – to make a hopeless attempt to try to crawl. Just as he was giving up, Greg Gordon appeared.  

“God used him as an angel. I called to the Almighty and He answered me,” recalled Mr. Lett. Greg, whose strength felt supernatural to Mr. Lett, grabbed him and pulled him to safety, saving the citizen’s life.  

Greg at National Night Out, photo courtesy of the Pensacola News Journal’s Gregg Pachkowski

On January 7, 2010, Officer Greg Gordon was awarded the Pensacola Police Department’s highest award – the Gold Medal of Valor. He was also awarded the National Medal of Valor from the U. S. Department of Justice, the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal from the Pensacola Chapter Florida Society, Sons of the American Revolution, the Police Officer of the Year from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Thomas F. Welch Post 706, his name was added to the Heroes Hall of Fame of the Police and Firemen’s Insurance Association. He was also recognized as a hero by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission – only one of about 9000 in Canada and the United States awarded since 1904. He was also presented with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition by the United States Congress and Congressman Jeff Miller.  

Gold Medal of Valor recipient Greg Gordon

Good work, Greg.


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