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Metro-North Employees Cited For Saving Colleague’s Life

Metro-North employees were honored for saving the life of a co-worker who was having a heart attack.
Metro-North employees were honored for saving the life of a co-worker who was having a heart attack. Photo Credit: Metro North Authority

Metro-North Railroad recognized five employees on Monday for saving a colleague who suffered a heart attack at the railroad’s Brewster Yard last month. 

MTA President Joseph Giulietti thanked the employees for their actions during a meeting of the MTA Board’s Metro-North Railroad Committee.

The event took place as the workday was winding down for employee Jeff Ballard, a Brewster yardmaster who lives in New Milford, Conn., the MTA said.

Ballard was getting ready to leave for the day when a co-worker asked him, “What does it feel when you’re having a heart attack?” Ballard, who worked for 20 years as an emergency medical technician, turned at looked at the man.

 “He was gripping his chest; his glasses were off, and he looked ashen. He told me that he was in a lot of pain, had shortness of breath and that he’d killed half a roll of Rolaids in 20 minutes,” said Ballard.

Ballard took the man's pulse and knew that he was having a heart attack. Wasting no time, he gave him aspirin and called the Brewster Mechanical Office Foreman, Jeff Boyle, who is an EMT, as well as Brendan Szabo, a mechanical foreman, and EMT who lives in Rhinebeck.

Boyle and Szabo arrived seconds later and began life-saving efforts, as Harlem Line Superintendent Michele Salvatore immediately called the regional emergency response team.

 “He told us that he just wanted to go home, go to sleep and wait for his wife. We told him, no way. You’re staying put,” said Salvatore.

Trainmaster Andrew McClellan, from Danbury, Conn., directed the EMS upstairs to their colleague: “As scary as it was to see one of my co-workers and friends outside of work having a heart attack, it was incredibly reassuring to know that our own co-workers from Brewster mechanical are trained and equipped to respond to any medical emergency we have in literally a matter of seconds,” he said.

When EMS arrived, they confirmed the man was having a heart attack and transported him to Danbury Hospital. 

“Quick action on the part of our Brewster District team saved this man’s life,” said Giulietti. “This incident demonstrates the character and compassion of Metro-North employees. They not only care about doing their jobs in an exemplary fashion, they care about one another. I’m proud to recognize Jeff, Brendan, Michele, Andrew and Jeff, and I thank them for their efforts.”

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