By DIANE S. WILLIAMS
The last snow storm of the winter, Stella, barreled down on a shuttered New York City March 15 and claimed the life of a Staten Island man who had been revived by a quick-acting Local 1505 member.
The man later died at the hospital, the victim of an apparent heart attack.
City Parks Worker Albert Torres was driving a Parks Dept. vehicle to plow a Dongan Hill playground when he saw an elderly woman frantically waving.
“I was coming down a side street and she flagged me down,” said Torres, who had been on duty since 5 a.m.
The woman pointed to her son who was lying face up on the ground. He was white like a ghost and unconscious, Torres said. Edward Wilkinson, 47, collapsed while shoveling his aged parents’ sidewalk. Trained in CPR, Torres went to help the man.
“I checked his pulse and breathing there, was no response,” Torres said. “His mother was frightened and crying, screaming.”
Torres performed CPR for about five minutes until Emergency Medical Technicians arrived.
“We worked really hard on him. He began to show signs of life and made sounds as he struggled to breathe. The EMTs sped him to the hospital,” said Torres.
“I have a wife and kids so I felt for the woman,” he said. “Seeing her pain, a mother crying for her son, it wasn’t easy.”
A Good Samaritan acts
Torres is trained in cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, CPR, a requirement for his job. A Parks employee since 2012, Torres said, “We just had a refresher course two months ago. I was glad I was able to help. You never know when you will need to use CPR. It can save a life.”
“I found out the man later died,” Torres recalled. “His grieving mother called to thank me for helping.”
“I am so proud of Mr. Torres. I commend him for coming to the aid of this desperate family when no one else was around,” said Local 1505 President Dilcy Benn. The Parks Dept. recognized Torres’ heroism at an April 21 ceremony. “He is a Good Samaritan who was in the right place at the right time to help during a crisis.”
This story previously appeared in the June 2017 issue of Public Employee Press.
The DC 37 Blog is an online publication of District Council 37, AFSCME, which represents 126,000 municipal employees in New York City.