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Call of Duty

Concord dispatcher Terry Gardner thought he’d spend his off-day watching Bruins practice at Ristuccia Arena, but he ended up helping save a man’s life.

The way it normally works, another sentence would have been said before Terry Gardner got involved. But this wasn’t a normal workday. In fact, it wasn’t a workday at all.

So when the Concord Police dispatcher heard “Somebody call 911,” he forgot about the action on the ice and immediately ran to the back of the bleachers to see what he could do.  

“When you’re called and have to respond there’s kind of that second to collect your thoughts; it’s kind of different to be on the spot like that,” Gardner said. “I’m pleasantly surprised I didn’t freeze. Once you’re in there, the training takes over and you kind of zone out.”

It was Thursday, Jan. 17. Gardner and a few friends were Ristuccia Arena in Wilmington to watch the Boston Bruins tuning up a few days before their first game of the lockout-shortened NHL season. The plan was to watch the players, but they ended up watching him.

After hearing the call for help, Gardner, who also works part-time as a firefighter and EMT in Littleton, rushed up the stairs and found a man struggling to breathe. He and an off-duty firefighter began to perform CPR

“We worked him for a few minutes, and it felt like 30 seconds,” Gardner said. “All of a sudden, we looked up and the Bruins were all on a knee and everyone was watching.”

According to reports from the day, Gardner wasn’t the only emergency responder who quickly sprung into action. Wilmington Officer Matt Stavro was watching the practice on his day off while Officer Dan Deon was working police duty at Ristuccia. Both charged into the stands, along with by Bruins trainers.

Someone grabbed the defibrillator that hangs on the wall outside the Bruins locker room, and one shock was administered to the fallen man, who was suffering a cardiac incident. Firefighters arrived shortly thereafter and transported the man by ambulance.

“Seconds really count in that situation,” Gardner told Patch at the time. “Really, for the situation that he had, he had it in a pretty good place. They had the defibrillator on scene, which made a world of difference for him. If this happened at home, he may not have had such a good outcome.”

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