This is Anthony Kacperowski
Updated: Oct 9, 2019
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Anthony Kacperowski, 22 year old Senior at William Paterson University, recently received an American Red Cross Lifesaving Award. Without a second thought, Anthony ran to the rescue of one of his family members and saved his life. This is Rutherford spoke with Anthony about this particular day and the award he received from the American Red Cross.
TIR: Please tell us about what happened on the day you saved a family member's life.
Anthony Kacperowski: We went to Shannon Rose to celebrate my grandmother's birthday on May 20th, 2019. We had just started to eat our appetizers when my Dad started choking on his nachos. He started to cough and then he started waving his arms. He put his hands on his neck like you do when you're choking and then his lips started to turn blue. I knew he wasn't joking around. My first instinct was to jump up and do the Heimlich Maneuver. I never even thought about what I was doing, I just did it.
TIR: Without giving it a second thought, you knew exactly what to do to save your Dad. How did you know what to do?
AK: I learned general life saving techniques, including CPR, as part of my training when I was a camp counselor for Rutherford Recreation.
TIR: When faced with an emergency such as this one, how did you feel?
AK: I really didn't have time to think or feel and I didn't feel scared, I just knew I had to do something to help my Dad.
TIR: Do you have a particular mentor or someone who inspired you to take care of others?
AK: My grandmother and grandfather were both EMTs (For the Rutherford First Aid Squad). My family is very close and we take care of each other, so helping my Dad just came naturally.
TIR: Do you have any interest in working within the emergency response field or becoming an EMS volunteer?
AK: I never really thought about it, but my family thinks I should because I really didn't get upset and they said I was very calm. At the current time, I'm finishing up my last year of college and I work as well, but you never know what the future holds!
TIR: Tell us more about the American Red Cross Awards Ceremony.
AK: The Red Cross Ceremony was awesome! It took place at their headquarters in Fairfield, NJ and all of their officers were present. They invited my family and friends to attend and they told the story of how the Red Cross started, what happened on the day of the "incident", and presented me with the Lifesaving Award (Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action). They asked me to show them what I did to save my Dad, and I demonstrated (on my Dad) how I did the abdominal thrusts! They also honored my Dad and asked that he come up with me when I received the award and to take pictures with the officers. Rosie Travella, the Regional Chief Executive Officer presented the award and their Chaplain gave each of us an angel pin and gave us all blessings. All of the officers in attendance were very kind, and congratulated me for what I did and for saving my Dad. They all joked that they were glad to see him there with us!
TIR: How did you feel receiving this award?
AK: I never really thought that what I did was a big deal, but I realized that it really was when I saw everyone's reactions. I felt very proud and was honored to receive the award. I think that because I was able to do what I did, it showed others, including my friends, that they can do it too! I was very happy to be acknowledged.