Hometown Hero saved friend suffering cardiac arrest

Michael Sibilia used his training to save fellow coach at football game

WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – No one starts the day expecting to meet the challenge that makes them a Hometown Hero- certainly not the morning West Springfield firefighter and paramedic Michael Sibilia was in Westfield coaching pee wee football. But then suddenly, Mike’s friend, a fellow coach, suffered cardiac arrest.

“I recognized that something wasn’t right, and that was more severe than what other people thought was going on,” Sibilia said.

“It seems like forever, it was within five to 10 minutes, things were getting better.”

“Joy, it was joy. He’s a friend. Not only is he my coach, but he’s a good friend.”

For West Springfield Fire Chief Bill Flaherty, what Mike Sibilia had done was worthy of a Hometown Hero salute.

“He reacted with only his hands and his brain to go out to this person who’s on the ground, and actually put that to use,” Flaherty said.

“I’ve been to these Hometown Heroes breakfasts over the past few years. It’s amazing the stories. I just felt what he did saved this person’s life.”

Mike’s wife, Andrea, is so proud of her husband’s lifesaving experience; keeping cool while helping someone he knows so well and feels so close to.

“How did he take the emotion out of the situation? Work on a friend, someone he spent so much time with?” Andrea Sibilia said.

Michael Sibilia and Agawam Police Chief Eric Gillis go way back, to when they played high school football together. Gillis admires his former teammate.

“He has no equipment, he has no partner, he has no ambulance, he has no drugs to normally administer. He had his training and he had his hands, and he did an outstanding job,” Gillis said.

For that job well done saving a life, Michael Sibilia will be honored by the Western Massachusetts Red Cross on the morning of March 17 as a Hometown Hero.