Article in the Salem Evening News
- By Ethan Forman Staff Writer
DANVERS — Retired Wenham police reserve officer William J. Foley Jr. happened to be at the right place at the right time to be able to use CPR to revive a spectator at Danvers Indoor Sports on Andover Street on Saturday afternoon.
The victim collapsed and wound up unresponsive about 10 feet behind Foley as he was watching a soccer game, he said.
From his training, Foley said it appeared the man had suffered cardiac arrest. He had no pulse and he was not breathing.
At the time of the incident, Foley was on the second level of the indoor sports complex at 150 Andover St., catching his 8-year-old grandson Connor Hill’s 5 p.m. soccer game.
During the match, he heard commotion nearby.
“Next thing I know, someone was screaming for a doctor or a nurse,” Foley said. At first, Foley did not grasp what was happening, but his daughter told him: “Dad, move it.”
“You do what you gotta do,” said Foley, 67, of Hamilton, who retired two years ago at the mandatory retirement age of 65 as a reserve patrolman in Wenham after 34 years. He continues to serve as a special police officer for Crane Beach in Ipswich.
Another man was attempting to do CPR on the victim who was on the ground, but Foley said this man was not trained to do so. Foley told the other bystander he was a police officer and took over performing CPR on the victim, and started doing chest compressions. After about a minute and a half, the man started to breath and talk. There was a language barrier, Foley said, but the victim’s family kept talking to him.
Foley does know who the victim is. He credits his training over the years for kicking in at the right time.
“You’ve been trained in that your whole life, and it’s one of the things that stick with you,” Foley said.
He also said he recently finished in-service training in November, which included CPR training.
“It’s a credit to the academy, these guys teach it so well,” Foley said of the Massachusetts Law Enforcement Training Alliance, LLC, MLETA, which is based in Topsfield.
Foley is known in Beverly as the retired principal of the Centerville Elementary School on Hull Street, a post from which he retired in 2008.
Danvers Police and Fire departments responded to the call, along with Atlantic Ambulance, Foley said. He described the man as conscious and alert when he was taken away by ambulance.
Danvers fire Capt. Brian Barry was on duty Saturday at the time of the call, but he did not respond to it. He said the call came in at 5:30 p.m. for a person who was possibly not breathing and who was later transported to the hospital conscious and alert. He did not have any further details.
Foley comes from a family where knowing CPR comes in handy. He’s the uncle of Topsfield fire Chief Jen Collins-Brown. He is also the uncle of her brother, Beverly Commissioner of Public Services Michael Collins.
In September, Collins happened to be at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Beverly Middle School when former Beverly Mayor Bill Scanlon became unsteady on his feet during a speech. Collins, who is trained in CPR, was able to reach him before he collapsed and started doing chest compressions on Scanlon, who was 78 at the time. These actions saved Scanlon’s life.
Fire Chief Collins-Brown said she was proud of her uncle.
“It’s the bystanders, it’s the lay people who are going to save people,” said Collins-Brown, who also teaches CPR. That’s the message she brings when teaching other first responders about CPR, that time is of the essence when it comes to saving lives using its techniques.
‘It’s all the more reason why people should learn CPR,” Collins-Brown said.