Fremd High School student and Eagle Scout Tyler Matuszczak's quick thinking and knowledge of CPR kept a close-knit Hoffman Estates family intact when he came to the aid of a neighbor who'd collapsed from a heart attack on his driveway.
The 17-year-old was leaving his own house about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 12 when he heard the moans of the 73-year-old man across the street.
He immediately alerted the wife of Navnit Barot inside the house, called 911 and administered CPR until paramedics arrived minutes later.
Matuszczak received his hometown's Citizen Lifesaving Award and the continued gratitude of Barot's family at Monday's Hoffman Estates village board meeting.
"You gave us our dad back," Sneha Dixit, Barot's daughter, told Matuszczak, with other members of her family behind her. "We all really appreciate you so much!"
Though Barot is still in the hospital, his daughter said he's making significant steps in his recovery and the family hopes to soon see him in an acute rehab facility.
He was already a dialysis patient before his cardiac arrest but had been very independent, including driving himself around, Dixit said. Thanks to Matuszczak, there's strong hope of his having that life again.
But had the young man not come along when he did, with the knowledge of just what to do, it's unlikely her father would have lasted long with no oxygen getting to his brain, Dixit said.
Matuszczak said he first learned CPR in school but guessed that not many his age would have the knowledge at their fingertips in such an unexpected situation.
"It's just been drilled into me over the years," he said. "I think it was mainly through repetition."
About 25 members of Boy Scout Troop 209 and their leaders cheered Matuszczak on as he received the award from Hoffman Estates Fire Chief Patrick Fortunato and Mayor Bill McLeod.
"It makes you proud to live in this town," McLeod said.