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Anna Maria Football Coach comes to the rescue of neighbor

Anna Maria Football Coach comes to the rescue of neighbor

(Courtesy of the Waterbury (Conn.) Republican-American)


Hero of the day

Mulrooney comes to rescue for neighbor



Talk about being in the right place at the right time.

Prospect native and ex-Holy Cross High football standout Dan Mulrooney, was literally home for 15 minutes from his job as the first-year head coach of the Anna Maria College football team in Worcester, Mass., on Tuesday night only to instinctively react and save his 66-year-old neighbor, Patricia Mills, from choking to death.

Mulrooney used the Heimlich maneuver repeatedly before dislodging a piece of meatloaf from Mills. 

"Danny saved my life," Mills said on Thursday afternoon from her duplex home, adjacent to Mulrooney's. "He's a real sweetie. I can't ask for a more dedicated, sincere person to be my neighbor."

When Mills realized that she couldn't get her throat cleared, she immediately thought of Mulrooney.

"I gambled and hoped that he would be home and opened his screen door and began banging on the door," said Mills. "Very quickly I knew that I had a short window of time. I banged real hard."

Mulrooney, sitting on his couch with his girlfriend, Kate Fox, said that he thought at first that someone was trying to break into his duplex.

"But when I realized it was my neighbor in duress and was grabbing her heart and throat, I saw she had a panicked look on her face," said Mulrooney. "Having been trained in CPR, I asked Kate to first call 911."

The 28-year-old thought back to his graduate school CPR class at SUNY-Stony Brook in 2012.

"I had only performed CPR on a dummy, but now, I had absolutely no time to think about it," said Mulrooney. "After the sixth or seventh thrust, Patty became limp and I started doubting myself. By the ninth time, I picked her up off the ground and gave it my all and was not going to worry if I hurt her ribs, and all of sudden, the piece of meatloaf came out."

How long did this movie-like episode last?

"Probably a minute-and-a-half," said Mulrooney matter-of-factly.

"To me, it seemed like 20 minutes and it was such a traumatic experience, but when I saw Danny in action, I couldn't believe how calm and in control he was," said Fox. "He's such a selfless person."

When paramedics arrived and accessed Mills' condition, they ruled she was physically fine and didn't need to transport her to the hospital.

"Everything that Danny did was textbook," said Mills, a retired civilian worker for the Massachusetts State Police.

Wednesday morning, Mulrooney went back to work to rejoin his football staff and players with the upstart program. On Tuesday, Mulrooney had canceled a night practice and noted that he wouldn't have been home otherwise to make the save.

"I was texting future recruits when this happened," said Mulrooney, the MVP of the 2006 Class SS state title game for the Crusaders and who played at Boston College and Stony Brook before beginning a four-year coaching career at neighboring WPI. "I called the team together and reflected on our tough season that we're having. As much as my professional life is about blowing a whistle and devising game plans, God has a bigger plan for me. It's about helping people and being passionate about what i do. I have so much faith, strength, and empathy and care so much for others."

Especially an elderly neighbor in dire need.