Breaking News Bar
updated: 5/23/2013 8:40 AM

How Oklahoma coach helped save Schaumburg couple

hello
Success - Article sent! close
  • The water heater in the foreground likely played a role in helping save Schaumburg Trustee Frank Kozak and his wife, Char, when they were in Moore, Okla., visiting Char's brother Monday.

      The water heater in the foreground likely played a role in helping save Schaumburg Trustee Frank Kozak and his wife, Char, when they were in Moore, Okla., visiting Char's brother Monday.
    Courtesy of Steve Kozak

  • Talbot Cox

      Talbot Cox
    COURTESY OF TALBOT COX

  • Frank Kozak

      Frank Kozak
    Courtesy of ABC 7

  • COURTESY OF TALBOT COXThe destroyed home at center is where Schaumburg trustee Frank Kozak and his wife Char were rescued in the aftermath of the Moore, Oklahoma EF5 tornado.

      COURTESY OF TALBOT COXThe destroyed home at center is where Schaumburg trustee Frank Kozak and his wife Char were rescued in the aftermath of the Moore, Oklahoma EF5 tornado.

  • Firefighters work on Monday at the scene where Frank and Char Kozak were rescued in the aftermath of the Moore tornado.

      Firefighters work on Monday at the scene where Frank and Char Kozak were rescued in the aftermath of the Moore tornado.
    COURTESY OF TALBOT COX

 
 

A youth triathlon coach from Oklahoma who helped pull a Schaumburg trustee and his wife out of the rubble after Monday's tornado in the Oklahoma City area will be watching his team participate in a race Sunday in Geneva.

Talbot Cox, 19, coaches HIS Racing, an Oklahoma City-based team of athletes ages 7 to 16 who will participate in the Multisport Madness Team Youth Triathlon at Cadence Health and Fitness Center in Geneva.

Order Reprint Print Article
 
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.
Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.

Contact information ( * required )

Success - request sent close

This after he was one of a group of people Monday who rescued Schaumburg Trustee Frank Kozak and his wife, Char.

The Kozaks were visiting Char Kozak's brother's family. The couple huddled in a closet when the tornado hit and destroyed the house. Char Kozak suffered arm injuries and head lacerations.

"(Cox) was one of the responders that helped my parents," said Steve Kozak, son of the trustee. "Obviously he helped save their lives, and I'm grateful for that. ... They're grateful for that. Without (the responders), who knows what would have happened."

Cox lives in Oklahoma City just outside the suburb of Moore, which was devastated by the tornado. He and his family sought refuge in a neighbor's underground shelter as the tornado barreled through about four miles away, he said.

When the threat was over, Cox said, he jumped in his car to drive to nearby Wayland Bonds Elementary School in Moore, to make sure one of his athletes, Ash Brayer, was OK.

"I guess it was just instant reflex," he said. "I really take care of all my athletes. I treat them like they're my kids."

Once he saw the school had been spared, he drove further south and saw houses reduced to rubble. Other people started arriving and everyone started digging, he said.

Char Kozak was the first person they helped, he said.

"We started going down the street pulling people out. People would come out crying," he said. "You have no clue who's where. You just go up to the house and hope that there's not a body under the rubble."

There were no deaths in the immediate area, but several horses had to be put down because of their injuries, he said. "I can just hear it in my mind -- all the gunshots going off," Cox said.

Dee Ann Gastineau, whose husband is Char Kozak's brother, said it's a miracle the Kozaks survived. The Gastineaus were both at work when the tornado warnings started.

"They only thing that saved them, I think, is my hot water tank fell on Frank's back," Gastineau said. "The house blew up around them."

"Frank was able to call out of the rubble, and Talbot and other people immediately helped," she said. "Talbot is a hero."

Meanwhile, the race in Geneva will feature about 150 triathletes from Illinois and elsewhere.

"I think the timing's good," Cox said of the race. "I'm very excited -- one of the main reasons I'm pushing the team to go up here is because I think it will be good for them."

Cox's girlfriend, Jennifer Howland of Elburn, is a former member of the MMTT Triathlon Team, now based in Naperville. It was being exposed to MMTT that inspired him to start his own team in Oklahoma, said Cox, a student at Oklahoma City Community College.

"There was no such thing as youth triathlon teams until (founder) Keith Dickson invented MMTT," Cox said. "Now we have (youth triathlon) teams all over the entire nation. That's why I am very excited for this race, and excited for the kids to show up there."

Share this page
Comments ()
Guidelines: Keep it civil and on topic; no profanity, vulgarity, slurs or personal attacks. People who harass others or joke about tragedies will be blocked. If a comment violates these standards or our terms of service, click the X in the upper right corner of the comment box. To find our more, read our FAQ.