ORANGETOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) - A Rockland County teenager is honoring the memory of the man who saved his life by helping to save the lives of others.
The widow of Orangetown police officer Michael Sullivan said her husband was a selfless man.
“There were so many acts of kindness that Michael did that I have no idea of half of them and I’m only beginning to learn a lot,” said his widow Carol Sullivan.
The 47-year-old officer died from a brain tumor in late 2011 and, at his wake, his widow heard stories of his heroics that she had never heard before.
She was particularly touched by 16-year-old Kenny Gordon’s story.
When Kenny was 7-years-old, he took a tumble down a flight of stairs and stopped breathing. His mother, Colleen, called 911 and Officer Sullivan was the first to arrive on the scene.
“When he came in…he says ‘Colleen, calm down.’ He said ‘He’ll be fine,’” Colleen told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams. “Once he said that, I was okay because, you know what, he calmed me down because [of] the way he talked to me was calmness.”
Kenny said Sullivan grabbed him, sat him down in a chair and put an oxygen mask on him.
“He started talking to me, patting my back, just telling me it was okay,” Kenny said.
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Kenny was so taken by his savior, he decided in that moment that he too would someday become a police officer.
“It’s my turn to help now,” he said.
Kenny has already joined the fire department, is a member of the ambulance corps and runs blood drives at Tappan Zee High School in honor of Sullivan.
“Helping people in need, it’s a gift of life,” said his dad Kenneth. “Very proud of what he’s doing and, hopefully, he’ll continue and go a long way.”
Carol Sullivan is grateful.
“I think it’s wonderful, Kenny, what you’re doing,” she said. “Keep up the good work and pass it on to somebody else and that’s what life is all about – doing good in the world. And if we can all make a little difference like that, it makes the world a better place.”
“I thought it was amazing that Michael had such an impact and such an effect on this boy’s life and I think it’s wonderful,” she added. “It’s almost like what Michael did for him, he passed something on to Kenny Gordon, and Kenny now has passed it on along the way.”