Let's congratulate these two fine young men
2 teens to receive Medal of Heroism
Boys assisted man who collapsed while shoveling snow
Saturday, January 31, 2009
BY ERICA DOLSON
Of The Patriot-News
When junior Matt McDonald walked through the halls of Cedar Cliff High School on Friday, he received high-fives from his peers and congratulations from his teachers.
But not for the typical high school heroics -- shooting a three-pointer at the buzzer, acing the physics mid-term or being crowned homecoming king.
Instead, McDonald and his friend, sophomore Corey Persson, were being lauded for helping a neighbor who collapsed while shoveling snow and is recovering in a local hospital.
On Wednesday afternoon, McDonald and Persson had a snow day and were planning to take in a movie matinee. As they were pulling out of the driveway, Persson noticed one of their neighbors, Paul Taffel, fall while shoveling snow.
"I turned, and he was falling, and I thought, 'uh, that's not too good,'" Persson said.
Persson turned the man over and talked to him, he said. When Taffel went limp, McDonald, a member of Cedar Cliff's Junior ROTC program, administered CPR while Persson called 911.
The boys didn't make it to a later showing of the film, either; McDonald stayed to finish shoveling the man's driveway.
On Friday afternoon, Taffel was listed in serious condition at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center.
McDonald said he had never used his CPR skills before. He added that both boys remained calm.
"When it happens, you just act," Persson said.
"A lot of people were very happy and proud to hear we did something good," McDonald said.
Both boys will receive the Medal of Heroism, the Junior ROTC's equivalent of the Medal of Honor. It is the highest award given to Junior ROTC members, and it is the first occasion two have been awarded at the same time at Cedar Cliff, said Sgt. Jeffrey Benton, army instructor for the Junior ROTC at Cedar Cliff.
Benton does not know when the medals will be awarded.
"We want to make a big deal of it," he said. "Everybody's talking about it."
ERICA DOLSON: 255-8424 or firstname.lastname@example.org