First responders honored for reviving Shrewsbury resident


First responders honored for reviving Shrewsbury resident
Shrewsbury resident Andy MacIsaac shook hands with first responders who helped save his life. The first responders were presented with the TEAM award by the Worcester County District Attorney. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

SHREWSBURY – For Shrewsbury resident Andy MacIsaac, “thank you” doesn’t begin to cover his and his family’s gratitude to a team of first responders who saved his life last year.

On May 22, Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. presented the TEAM award – short for Team Excellence and Merit – to 12 first responders, including Lt. Adam Cameron, Officer Waleed Belgou, Officer Ahmed Kafel, Officer Jeffrey Svendsen, Officer Christopher Vieira, Dispatcher Noah Coates and Dispatcher Kurt White from the Shrewsbury Police Department; Shrewsbury Fire Department Firefighter Michael Bowles and Firefighter Christopher White; and Dispatcher John Cappe, Paramedic Paige Murray and Paramedic James Smith from Worcester EMS.

Early said the first responders came together to save MacIsaac’s life.

“I’m here today because everything came together – the training, the professionalism, the dedication, the teamwork that was really instrumental in my chain of survivability,” said MacIsaac.

On the morning of July 2, 2023, MacIsaac had returned home from walking his dogs when he collapsed. His wife, Tricia, called 911, and her brother who was visiting began chest compressions.

According to Early, Cappe stayed on the phone and talked them through the process to provide chest compressions until the first responders came. Help soon arrived, and Vieira took over chest compressions while Svendsen gave rescue breaths. The police provided CPR until firefighters and paramedics arrived.

“In total, first responders kept at it, they kept going for about 30 minutes until Andy’s heart started beating again,” Early said.

MacIsaac was transported to UMass Memorial Medical Center. There, the doctors determined that he had suffered from sudden cardiac arrest caused by blockages in his heart. MacIsaac underwent surgery and was discharged less than a week later.

“Their quick actions and teamwork surely saved his life. If not for them, the outcome could have been tragically different. Thank God it wasn’t,” said Early.

MacIsaac has lived in town since 1999 and said his family is lucky to live in a town with a dedicated team of police, fire and EMS.

Police Chief Kevin Anderson said these calls are typical for what the first responders experience on a daily basis.

“I commend all of our first responders who responded to this call, who worked together to save Mr. MacIsaac’s life. Great job. It was truly a team effort,” he said.

MacIsaac is back at work and trying to live his fullest life.

“I live my life with a sense of gratitude because you never know when it can end. Luckily for me, I had second chance, I had a second birthday, but it’s because of these dedicated individuals and others like them,” he said.

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