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Red Cross Names Westport Family Y Employee a Hero

WESTPORT, Conn. — Steven Forlano is more than just a membership supervisor at the Westport Weston Family Y — he’s a community hero. Forlano was one of several good Samaritans who received a Community Hero Award on Thursday at the annual American Red Cross Community Heroes of Connecticut Awards, the Y announced Friday.

Forlano received the honor for his role in helping to save a man’s life. Last August, a Family Y member collapsed during a game of basketball. Forlano and fitness coordinator Michael Friedman, who were nearby, were alerted.

When the two arrived in the gym, another basketball player was performing chest compressions on the man who had no pulse. As Friedman prepared an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, Forlano tended to a head wound the player received when he fell.

The man’s pulse returned after Friedman administered an AED shock. Both Friedman and Forlano helped care for the patient until Westport Emergency Medical Service arrived and took him to the hospital. The man, who underwent an angioplasty procedure and received 17 stitches to his head, made a full recovery.

Although he was named a community hero, Forlano isn’t letting the honor go to his head. Instead, he acknowledges that saving the man’s life was a team effort, something he couldn’t have done alone.

“Michael [Friedman] spent 20 years as a volunteer with the Weston Fire Department and EMTs. He’s the real hero,” Forlano said. “Westport EMTs are some of the best in the country, so their help was essential as well.”

Forlano also credits the mandatory CPR/AED training all Family Y staff receive for his ability to act promptly. "You hope there will never be a situation where you need to use that training, but when there is, those skills kick in and you operate instinctively,” he said.

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