In the early evening of July 25, Allendale Police Officers Alex Helmer and Sean Hubbard were directing traffic at the intersection of West Allendale Avenue and DeMercurio Drive when a waiter came running toward them. The distressed waiter, from a nearby bistro, asked for the officers’ help in reviving a choking diner.
“One of the waiters from Mezza Luna knew that our guys were down at the intersection there and ran down,” Police Chief George Scherb told NJ.com. “He ran down to get [the officers] and to tell them what was going on.”
Helmer and Hubbard left their post and rushed to the bistro with the waiter to attend to the emergency, the outlet reported. A 68-year-old Park Ridge woman was choking on her meal; her airway remained blocked after an unsuccessful attempt at the Heimlich maneuver by her husband.
When Helmer and Hubbard arrived, the woman wasn’t breathing, the police chief said in the report. The officers, unable to detect a pulse, drew on their training and immediately began administering CPR.
The CPR loosened some of the trapped food. After some more efforts, the officers were able to clear the woman’s airway and she began breathing on her own.
The woman made a full recovery on-site, the report stated. Helmer and Hubbard’s revival was so expertly executed that the diner refused further medical assistance and thanked the officers before they departed.
The pair also received hearty thanks from Allendale Mayor Ari Bernstein, who soon caught wind of the amazing rescue. The mayor posted a photo of himself standing with the heroic officers and the owner of Mezza Luna, Eddie Veseli, outside the bistro on Facebook, with a caption praising Helmer and Hubbard for their quick-thinking actions.
“So proud to be standing with Officers Helmer and Hubbard in front of Mezzaluna Bistro tonight,” Bernstein wrote. “Our hometown heroes saved a life this evening. A patron from Park Ridge was choking and our officers sprang into action, performing CPR to revive her.”
The mayor added, “Thank you to Allendale Police for everything you do!”
Scherb said in the NJ.com report that Helmer and Hubbard had been on duty in the area as part of a community event, “Dine Out in Allendale,” diverting vehicles away from a closed-off street in an effort to make restaurants more accessible. Their posting that night saved a life.
“They really worked hard for this lady,” Scherb concluded. “And it shows.”
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