By Traci Chapman
It was a quiet Sunday, about 8 a.m. on May 28, 2017. But, for Steven Sharp, long-time area band educator and military musician, all sense of normalcy would be quickly gone, as he fought for his life, brought down by a heart attack.
It would be a day that would see the life of an educator who has touched so many lives turn on the dedication and training of two men who do the same – in a different way. It was a story with a very happy ending celebrated last week, but it didn’t start that way.
Even as the 42-year-old Sharp was rushed to Oklahoma Heart Hospital, word that something was wrong began to spread on social media. Band members are a family; so, too, are the Battle Buddies of the 395th Army Band, where Sharp serves as a staff sergeant. Current band director at Bethany Public Schools and former assistant band director at Tuttle school district, Sharp and his family didn’t just live in Mustang – he worked for five years at Mustang Public Schools.
“Everyone knew Steven and everyone who knows him likes him,” former colleague Roger Sharp said. “When this hit, it hit hard.”
While family, friends, colleagues and hundreds of current and former band students and their parents sent prayers and well wishes, Sharp was waging a battle, a battle that began on a really bad note – by the time Mustang Fire corporals Buddy Corbin and David Small arrived at his home, Sharp didn’t have a pulse, although Sharp’s friends, Chief Warrant Officer Martin Marks and Staff Sgt. Daniel Jordan, were performing CPR.
From there, Corbin and Small jumped in, defibrillating Sharp and in the process saving his life. Last week, they came together – the man who has made the difference in the lives of so many and the two who made the ultimate difference in his life – to recognize Corbin and Small with the Mustang Fire Department Life Saving Medal.
“The Life Saving Medal is awarded to honor fire department members that, through their hard work and dedication, assisted in the successful resuscitation of a human life,” Chief Carl Hickman said, during a Mustang City Council Aug. 15 recognition ceremony.
Almost three months since that day in May, Sharp said every day he says a pray of thanks for Corbin and Small, who tried to minimize their achievement as just part of the job, he said.
“It’s very humbling to stand here and know that if not for the actions of these two gentlemen, I would not be here,” Sharp said. “There’s no way you can repay a gift like that – people talk about how an educator can change lives, but look at what they did for mine.”
That gift was something he held onto as he went through cardio rehabilitation and worked to change his eating and health habits, Sharp said. It was something passed on to those who look on Sharp as an extended member of their family – they’ve been given a gift by two firefighters most of them have never met, two men who made a difference that had spread far beyond Sharp and his immediate family.
“When Mr. Sharp had his attack, all I could think of was the times he helped me, he encouraged me and helped me to realize that what he does is what I’m meant to do,” one of Sharp’s former MHS students and music education major Travis Miller said. “It’s hard to really give enough thanks to the people who made it possible for Mr. Sharp to continue doing that – but I do give thanks, and I know many, many of my friends do too.”