About 11:30 p.m. Feb. 1, Conant High School senior Ricky Dingraudo and his parents, who live in Elk Grove Village, noticed their neighbor collapsed while snow blowing his driveway.
While his dad called 911, Dingraudo rushed to the aid of the man and started chest compressions, remembering what he learned in sophomore health class.
“I had never had to use it,” he said. “I was thinking about how many I should do before starting mouth-to-mouth when he started to breathe.”
At that point, paramedics arrived, but the ambulance was temporarily stuck in a snow bank, Dingraudo said. Neighbors helped Dingraudo move the man to a garage so he could keep warm while the paramedics made their way to the scene.
“It took three snow plows and an ambulance to get him to the hospital,” Dingraudo said.
His neighbor, who speaks little English, eventually needed surgery, but now is OK.
“He’s back at home,” Dingraudo said. “For a while I was stressed out because I didn’t know how it was going to turn out.”
After a hospital stay, the man brought over chocolate for Dingraudo and wine for his parents to show his thanks. Once the school learned of Dingraudo’s action, he was presented with the Larry Schroeder Award at a pep assembly.
“The chocolate would have been enough,” Dingraudo said.
The award, which is only given out once this year, is presented to students who make a difference in their community, said Associate Principal Jerry Trevino.
“During the assembly…the entire student body gave him a standing ovation,” he said. “The kids really showed their respect.”
Dingraudo said he plans to attend Elmhurst College next year, and major in criminal justice. He’s thinking of becoming a police officer.
“He certainly has the temperament,” Trevino said. “He’s calm and cool under pressure.”