Westborough, Massachusetts, Officer John Sweeney was honored by the city after his heroic efforts saving two lives in less than a month during his first seven months with the department.
Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early Jr. presented Sweeney with the Team, Excellence and Merit award to recognize the officer’s outstanding service in public safety.
“This isn’t a good story; it’s a great story,” Early said during the presentation. “It’s an incredible story when you get right down to it … These things are just some of the great stories that go on every day that the public never hears about. That’s why we put the TEAM award together. We’re incredibly grateful to have such talented people in this county.”
A former Massachusetts state trooper, Sweeney joined the Westborough Police Department in the summer of 2021. The officer had an eventful start with the department, saving a 48-year-old man and a 6-month-old baby within the span of a month.
The first instance occurred on January 5 when Sweeney tagged along with the Westborough Fire Department responding to a call at apartments near Route 9. While waiting outside the building, a man — unrelated to the call — ran out holding his neck and gasping for air. He was choking.
Sweeney performed the Heimlich maneuver on the man, who was then able to dislodge the food.
A month later, Sweeney encountered another victim of choking — this time a 6-month-old baby.
A man called police at 6:30 p.m. to report that his baby was not breathing while he was on his way to the Westborough Fire Department for help.
Sweeney was working a traffic detail near the area when he heard the call and soon saw the man running toward him with the baby. He then performed back blows on the child, who began to breathe again.
“The nerves don’t really get to you in the moment,” Sweeney said. “But you take a deep breath after, and that’s when you realize the magnitude.”
Westborough Police Chief Jeffrey A. Lourie praised the officer.
“He’s going to have an absolutely fantastic career,” Lourie said. “And, again, I’m extremely proud of our entire team. He’s definitely one of our all-stars.”
“With this job, anything can happen,” Sweeney told MassLive. “So, you just got to be at the ready. I just happened to be at the right place at the right time.”