Bronx News
Oct 11, 2017

BRONX NEWS: Heart attack victim reunited in hospital with man who saved life

Prayer saves.

Just ask Salvador Collazo. The tow truck driver was on his way to church for a little devotion last month when he happened upon a man having a heart attack on a Bronx street. He gave the stranger CPR until paramedics arrived.

“It’s emotional,” Collazo, 35, said Wednesday after reuniting at a Bronx hospital with Mark Solomon, 53, the man whose life he saved.

“You never expect this. I wasn’t looking for any praise. I didn’t know the outcome of the patient when I handed him over to the EMS. I just kept moving and went on with my day.”

As fate would have it, Collazo has been a trained paramedic for 17 years, and knew just what to do that morning when he saw Solomon in distress on Sept. 14 along Mace Ave. near Wallace Ave.

Collazo, who was on his way to Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, started giving Solomon chest compressions while another bystander called 911.

Solomon, an MTA night security guard, and his girlfriend, Bobbie Brooks, wanted to thank Collazo for his divine intervention, but the humble Collazo climbed back into his tow truck and left the scene moments after paramedics arrived. No one got his name or contact information.

Brooks made it her mission to find Solomon’s “angel.” She even visited all of the local tow truck companies looking for the mystery man.

When that failed, she appealed to the Daily News, which expressed her gratitude in a story last week about Solomon’s good fortune.

Collazo, who has co-owned his own tow truck company for more than a year, had moved on, pausing briefly to mention the moment in an Instagram post

“OMW to La Gruta for a prayer and I get myself into a cardiac arrest!!!!! Good Morning!”

A friend of Collazo saw the post and the story in The News and put two and two together. Days later, Collazo, bearing flowers, was at Solomon’s bedside at the Helen Hayes Hospital and Rehab Center, where Solomon is on the mend.

“I’m glad you were there, man,” Solomon told Collazo from his bed.

“It’s a whole team effort,” Collazo replied.

“Yeah, but if you weren’t there…,” Solomon said, his voice trailing off. “Right place at the right time.

“I was on my way home when you saw me. I just finished working,” Solomon continued. “Sorry you’re seeing me this way.”

“I’ve seen you worse before,” Collazo joked, referring to the day of the heart attack. “You’re a lot better off than before, trust me.”

Brooks couldn’t stop smiling. She gave Collazo a copy of The News article as a gift, and a big hug.

“I’m so grateful to Sal,” Brooks said.

“With all the negative things going on in the world right now, Sal is like one of God’s angels working on Earth. There’s no one like him. If it wasn’t for him, I don’t think Mark would have made it. He saved Mark’s life.

“I’m grateful for Sal for bringing Mark back to life.”

She said Solomon still has a long way to go.

“He’s okay,” she said. “Right now, he’s not in the best mood. He can’t walk. He recognizes me. He has it in his mind that he wants to go home right now but it’s not time to go home. I want him to be out of here in four weeks. I got a call from his case manager that he’ll be out of here in four weeks.”

Collazo, meanwhile, said he still made it to church that day.

“Oh yeah, I went afterwards,” he said. “Cried a little bit, said a prayer, lit a candle. Did what I had to do.”

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Heart attack victim reunited in hospital with man who saved life

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