Westborough officer honored for saving lives


Westborough officer honored for saving lives
Westborough Officer John Sweeney shakes hands with Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – Westborough Police Officer John Sweeney said that he was in the right place at the right time when he saved two lives in just his first seven months on the job.

“The nerves don’t really get to you in the moment, but you take a deep breath after — that’s when you realize the magnitude of the medical [situation],” Sweeney said at an event held in his honor on Thursday.

Sweeney, who joined the Westborough Police Department in the summer of 2021, responded to a pair of choking situations in January and February of this year.

He was recognized for this by Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. at Thursday’s event.

“I’m so proud of my entire team,” said Police Chief Jeffrey Lourie, who also thanked the firefighters and paramedics who responded to those choking incidents. “… But today is about Officer John Sweeney. I’m proud to say I hired him. He’s going to have an absolutely fantastic career.” 

He called Sweeney one of the department’s “all stars.”

Westborough officer honored for saving lives
Officer John Sweeney speaks during an event in his honor. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

Officer saves choking man

First responders were called to the Arrive Westborough apartment building located on Route 9 on Jan. 5.

Westborough firefighters went inside the building. But Sweeney, who accompanied the Westborough Fire Department’s ambulance, remained outside. 

Just after 1 p.m., a 48-year-old man who wasn’t connected with the original call ran toward the ambulance holding his neck.

Sweeney knew something was wrong. 

He recognized that the man was choking. So, he began performing the Heimlich maneuver and cleared the food from the man’s airway.

Firefighters later cleared the man, and he declined further treatment. 

Officer saves baby

A month later, Sweeny jumped into action again.

“Officer Sweeney helped save a life — a very young life,” Early said. “This time, it was a baby.” 

The police received a call for what Early described as an “unknown medical incident” at about 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 2.

The man on the phone was driving toward the Westborough Fire Department’s headquarters because his baby, who was about six months old, wasn’t breathing.

Sweeney was working a traffic detail near the station and heard the call. When the father saw Sweeney, he rushed toward him.

“I almost got run over because he was driving like a bat out of hell toward the fire station,” Sweeney said.

Sweeney’s training kicked in and he gave the baby back blows before the child began breathing again. 

He gave the child to paramedics and jumped out of the ambulance, nearly tripping.

“[It was] pure joy,” he said of the feeling when he saw the baby breathe again. 

The father shook Sweeney’s hand and gave him a hug.

DA praises officer

Early presented Sweeney with the TEAM Award at the Westborough Police Department on Thursday. 

Westborough officer honored for saving lives
Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr. speaks during a ceremony honoring Officer John Sweeney. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

The award, which is short for Team Excellence and Merit, was created to honor public safety officials who go “above and beyond” the call of duty every day.

“First responders are often faced with making quick decisions, and they must rely on their training to help those in need,” Early said. “That’s what [Sweeney] did that day.”

“This isn’t a good story,” he continued. “It’s a great story. It’s an incredible story when you get down to it.” 

Sweeney is the second Westborough officer to receive this award.

Sgt. Jon Kalagher received it and the Medal of Valor Award in 2020 after he saved a woman during a 2019 domestic violence call.


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