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Stamford 911 Operator Honored For Heroic Actions In Saving Man's Life

Courtney Lawler
Courtney Lawler Photo Credit: Jay Polansky

STAMFORD, Conn. — A Stamford 911 dispatcher was honored with a mayoral proclamation during a special ceremony at the Government Center on Wednesday for helping to save the life of a city man.

On May 27, Stamford’s 911 Communications Center received a call from Leslie Foster, who said her father, Kenneth Foster, was choking and needed immediate medical help.

Courtney Lawler, a public safety dispatcher, was on duty and took the call. She quickly identified the medical situation as a full-airway obstruction and began offering help, Stamford’s Director of Public Safety Ted Jankowski said at the ceremony.

She “calmly and professionally” gave Leslie instructions on how to perform the Heimlich Maneuver and repeated those instructions, making sure they were properly understood. The maneuver was successful in dislodging the obstruction that was blocking the man's airway, Jankowski said.

Stamford Mayor David Martin praised Lawler’s actions, which he said showed the full capabilities and professionalism of the city’s 911 dispatchers. 

“You got the call and your service, your performance is a reflection on the entire public safety system,” Martin said.

For her actions, Martin also issued a mayoral proclamation to Lawler declaring July 20 as PSD Courtney Lawler Day in the city for her work that was “critical to saving a life.”

Jankowski said dispatchers such as Lawler are “the unsung heroes” of the city's public safety force.

“Dispatchers are the first line of communications, the lifeline for residents as is evident from this incident,” Jankowski said. “The work that the 911 dispatchers do is so important to the public and first responder safety.”

Of the call Lawler answered, he said “This is a perfect example of what dispatchers do."

Lawler, Martin and Jankowski were joined by public safety officials and the family of Kenneth Foster for the ceremony.

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