Those who watched his ascent to Iowa high school wrestling state champion status remember Kenyatta Carter for his quick reactions, his uncanny strength and his selfless actions.
Those who witnessed his latest heroics might be lauding him for those same traits.
The 34-year-old Waterloo West graduate helped rescue a man from a car engulfed in flames early Monday morning on Houston’s north side.
Carter said he was on his way to buy dog food around midnight when he came upon a car that had burst into flames after smashing into a tree less than a mile from his house. According to a report by click2houston.com, the 26-year-old driver was in and out of consciousness and couldn’t escape on his own as flames shot several feet into the air.
“There was not even a thought (about what to do),” Carter told The Register on Monday. “When somebody’s life is in danger and I can be a variable to helping him get out and save his life, there wasn’t a second thought. It was an immediate reaction.”
That’s when Carter leaned on the quick problem-solving skills he developed in the Army during two deployments in Iraq. He and several others carefully pried a door open and pulled the driver to safety.
Authorities told click2houston.com that Carter and the other responders saved the man’s life. The driver was airlifted to a local hospital, where he was treated for severe burns on his legs.
“It was kind of a flashback to (Iraq),” said Carter, who now manages a gym in Houston. “There were a couple situations that I had that were similar, where somebody’s life was in danger.”
Carter won the Class 3A title at 160 pounds in 2000 and went on to wrestle at Iowa Central, where he was a two-time junior college national finalist.
“Everything he did, he did it at 100 mph,” said Carter’s high school teammate Adam Gress, the now co-head coach at Spencer. “He cared about everyone else, too. When his brother (Akeem, a two-time state champion at Waterloo West) was coming up through the ranks, (Kenyatta) almost cared more about what Akeem was going to do wrestling-wise than himself at times. He was a team player.”