12/11/2012 - Town Pays Tribute to Manhasset Hero Whose Quick Thinking Helped Save Life of Heart Attack Victim

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 11, 2012
MEDIA CONTACTS: Collin Nash & Sid Nathan | (516) 869-7794

Town Pays Tribute to Manhasset Hero Whose Quick Thinking Helped Save Life of Heart Attack Victim
North Hempstead, NY– At a recent Town Hall reception filled with loads of emotional hugs and other moving expressions of gratitude, Supervisor Jon Kaiman, members of the Town Board, and Town Clerk Leslie Gross paid tribute to Manhasset resident Rick Spellman for his role in helping save the life of a heart-attack victim halfway through a round of golf at Eisenhower Park.

The December 5 tribute inside the Board Room, typical of those the Town hosts from time to time to acknowledge residents who have achieved outstanding accomplishments, spotlighted Rick Spellman and the heroic deeds of the former Jones Beach lifeguard.

“Often, the word hero is lightly used,” mentioned Supervisor Kaiman, “but Rick truly did something heroic; he helped save a life. We thank you for this valiant act.”

Spellman, a sales representative, said he was playing the eighth hole of the Blue Course of the East Meadow links with his father Fred, when he happened upon Margaret Savarese laying unresponsive on the ground. Her golf partners Joan Aspromante and Loretta Limanni were panicked and horrified. Instinctively drawing on his lifeguard training, he jumped in and immediately began pumping Savarese’s chest and alternately breathing into her mouth.

“There wasn’t much of a pulse or breath,” said Spellman, a lifeguard for more than a dozen years at Field 4 Central Mall at Jones Beach. “I guess CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) remained ingrained in my brain all this time.”

A regular at the course with her two friends, Savarese, a retired accounts representative from Massapequa, said she has no memory of the moments after she stepped onto the eighth tee Saturday, Sept. 10 until six days later at Nassau County Medical Center in East Meadow.

“They said I went to tee off and just crumpled to the ground,” Savareese said, referring to her friends that were with her at the time.

Limanni, also a Massapequa resident, believed for a fleeting moment that Savarese was pulling some weird prank when she fell.

“I thought she was kidding,” Limanni said, “but when I saw her face…I knew it was serious.”

Spellman said this was his first time performing CPR on a real person. His father helped out compressing Savarese’s chest as they frantically tried to revive her during what “seemed like ages” before the Emergency Medical Technicians arrived, he said.

“He wouldn’t give up,” Aspromante said. “We thank God for him.”

Spellman, who waited anxiously to hear how Savarese was doing, said that “it felt fantastic” when he heard that Savarese was alive and well. “It’s one of the best feelings of my life.”

Town Councilwoman Dina De Giorgio said that “recognizing extraordinary people who accomplish great feats” was one of the most important roles afforded her by her office.

“You did a wonderful thing,” she told Spellman. “You truly made a difference.”

Supervisor Kaiman, Clerk Gross and members of the Town Board celebrate Spellman’s heroic act with Mrs. Savarese and her husband and golf partners.