(CBS New York) – NYPD officers saved the life of an 83-year-old tourist when he went into cardiac arrest Friday night.
CBS2’s Lisa Rozner heard from the heroes and the man’s thankful family Saturday.
Ron Gargalowitz, of Andover, Massachusetts, had just finished dinner with his family when he collapsed around 6 p.m. on 45th Street between Eighth and Ninth avenues.
“I passed out and fell down, didn’t even realize anything. And the officers were very nearby and someone alerted them,” he told Rozner in an exclusive interview.
Good Samaritans flagged down two officers from the Midtown North Precinct. One started administering CPR while the other called for backup.
Within minutes, additional officers responded, helping with chest compressions and bringing a defibrillator.
“It’s incredible the way they reacted and the fact that they knew the right thing to do,” said Gargalowitz.
Three of the officers were former EMTs.
Now, all of them are heroes in the hearts of Gargalowitz and his family.
“These officers saved my father’s life. It’s nothing short of a miracle. They did above and beyond the call of duty,” his daughter, Christine Yoken, said.
“It’s amazing. It really hits your heart and really makes you happy,” said Officer Robert Pepe. “Not many people come back from that in the condition that he looked like he was in upstairs where he was walking, he was talking, his hair was all done, he was happy.”
“There’s no better feeling in the world that to see something like that, you’ve actually affected someone in a very positive way,” he added.
Gargalowitz was in town with his wife, children, and grandchildren to celebrate his 60th wedding anniversary. He and his wife got married at Tavern on the Green.
“Grateful that if it had to happen, I was in the fortunate situation that the police were there and everything turned out alright,” he said.
The family said the festivities have been postponed but they will come back to New York to celebrate.