By Mayra Tostado
SAN JOSE — Colby Peterson stood anxiously next to the San Jose Earthquakes goal Saturday (July 29) as he waited to meet the man he helped rescue from the icy waters of Lake Tahoe on July 4.
“I believe in second chances,” said Matheus Silva, a 20-year-old Brazilian midfielder on loan with Reno 1868 FC. “I’m extremely happy to be here.”
Peterson, a PG&E vegetation management program manager, his brother-in-law, Chris Guenther, and John Burke of Placerville, all helped keep Silva alive after he nearly drowned.
When the three men reunited with Silva for the honorary first kick against the Colorado Rapids, they were instantly connected by something much greater than soccer.
“It’s God,” Silva said. “God has been good to me. I’m just thankful. Take one day at a time. Try to be a better person every day. I realized how quick stuff can go.”
The day of the accident, Silva was swimming in Lake Tahoe, when he screamed for help after becoming distressed and slipping underwater. Guenther, who was paddle boarding with Peterson, dove into the water to grab Silva and pushed him to the surface. Peterson hoisted him onto his paddleboard and brought him ashore where Burke performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
“It was an amazing team effort for us to be able to get you out,” said Peterson.
Peterson credits PG&E and its emphasis on safety for preparing him that day; he became CPR-certified through the company.
Silva spent two days in a coma before making a miraculous recovery. He is hopeful he can practice with the team again this summer.
“We really were just happy to find out he was OK before we knew who he actually was,” said Peterson. “That didn’t matter, we would have saved anyone.”
Email Currents at Currents@pge.com.