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Cops, medics honored for saving ref’s life during basketball game

From left, AMT Steve Doucette, Rob Freedman, Scott

From left, AMT Steve Doucette, Rob Freedman, Scott Dipino, Police Officer John Ripp, victim Terry Twibell, and police officers David Tait, Michael Valela, and Joseph Clougher are honored at the Nassau Legislature on Monday, May 23, 2016 in Mineola. Photo Credit: Howard Schnapp

Terry Twibell was in the thick of refereeing a Seaford Middle School basketball game earlier this year, when he blew his whistle and suddenly fell to the floor. He was having a heart attack.

Bystanders came to his aid and used an automated external defibrillator to revive him, and a throng of Nassau police officers and medics responded and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, police said.

Officers Joseph Clougher, John Ripp, David Tait and Michael Valela and police medics Robert Freedman, Steve Doucette and Scott DiPino were named Top Cops Monday by the Nassau Police Benevolent Association and given citations by the county legislature for their lifesaving actions.

“I was in a lot of trouble,” said Twibell, 56, a marketing rep and a father of three, as he spoke at the legislature. “I certainly told them anytime they’re on Clark Street in Seaford, they’re welcome to knock on my door for dinner.”

James Carver, president of the PBA, said it was about 5:35 p.m. on Jan. 31 when cops got the call that Twibell “collapsed from a possible heart attack and was turning blue.”

The responding officers and medics, who go to the scene within three minutes, performed CPR and got a pulse back, Carver said. Cops also provided an emergency escort to the ambulance to ensure it got to the Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola quickly, he said.

DiPino, a supervisor police medic, said he and the others were honored by the recognition, but more grateful that they were able to save a life. “It’s a very rewarding experience.”

“It just goes to show you it’s the teamwork of police officers and . . . [police medics] that saved this man’s life,” said acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, who congratulated the officers and medics. “Because of their quick actions and their skills, this individual’s life was saved.”

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