Officer LaLonde’s quick actions saves life of Durecki

Officer Andrew LaLonde is thanked by Leo Durecki for the RCPD officer's life-saving actions.

by Peter Jakey–Managing Editor

Heroes are born in the smoke of a Boston street or police officers answering a call for help during the course of his or her everyday duties.

Rogers City police officer Andrew LaLonde, who is the newest member of the local police department, has been branded a hero by members of Leo Durecki’s family for his lifesaving efforts, April 1.

Leo’s wife Sally called 9-1-1 when her husband passed out outside of their garage, and before she returned from the phone, LaLonde was already there performing CPR (cardiopulmonary resusciation).

With no pulse, he kept pressing Leo’s chest until emergency responders arrived to assist.

LaLonde’s efforts were acknowledged at a recent City Council meeting.

On Monday, Leo got to shake the hand of the man who saved his life.

The 77-year-old, who was in the hospital for nearly two weeks, smiled at LaLonde and thanked him.

“I feel good,” Leo told him. “I don’t remember you coming over here.”

“I didn’t think you would,” LaLonde responded. “You look a lot better today.”

“Doesn’t he though,” Sally chimed in. “They were calling him miracle man when we left the hospital in Petoskey. Our family doctor calls him Lazarus.”

Sally said when officer LaLonde arrived, her husband was blue.

“There was no heart beat,” she said.

“None,” added LaLonde. “That morning, after CPR and the AED was used, and we got him into the ambulance, they hooked up a monitor and found a slight pulse.”

Leo had been complaining to doctors both in Petoskey and Rogers City that he had chest pains for the previous six weeks. He had classic impending heart attack symptoms, including pain going down, both arms, weakness and shortness of breath.

Six years ago to the day of the heart attack, Leo had bypass heart surgery.

(The complete story is in the May 2, 2013 edition of the Advance)