Quick thinking Elk Grove Village teen lauded as a hero for saving neighbor

Updated 2/2/2011 2:32 PM

Neighbors watch out for each other on the 1400 block of Hodlmair Lane in Elk Grove Village.

Today, some of them are calling 17-year-old Ricky Dingraudo a hero after he rushed out and performed CPR for a neighbor who collapsed with an apparent heart attack while using a snowblower late Tuesday night.


Ricky says it was a community effort and as many as seven people rushed to the man's aid.

"I'm positive he wasn't breathing. I listened for breath. It was scary," said the senior at Conant High School, who plans to study criminal justice at Elmhurst College next year.

"I feel like anyone could have pressed on his chest," he added. "We were all freaking out. If he hadn't started breathing, I don't know what I would have done."

Ricky's mother, Jean Dingraudo, was watching out the window about 11:30 p.m. Tuesday because the weather was so dreadful, and she didn't want to go to bed before seeing her neighbor head indoors. He probably was removing snow from the driveway so he could pick up his wife at the train at about midnight, she said.

Suddenly, Ricky heard his mother saying "Call 911, Joe's collapsed."

By the time he and his father, Jim, got to the scene, the man's daughter had rolled him onto his back.

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"I did about 15 chest compressions, and he gasped for air," Ricky said.

Soon, the man was breathing regularly. He eventually started talking, telling his neighbors he was cold.

"Everyone was bringing out blankets," Ricky said.

A fire truck came, but got stuck in the snow, so paramedics ran to the scene and carried the man into his garage.

Jean Dingraudo said the word today is their neighbor will recover. When he comes home, he'll find his driveway cleared by his neighbors.

"It's a great block," she said. "We all come together to help each other."

Ricky Dingraudo said he learned CPR in a health class he took as a sophomore.

"I e-mailed my health teacher and said 'Thank you, you saved a life last night,'" he said.