When Dylan McDonald, Gardner, saw a collapsed man on the side of the road and another man attempting to provide CPR, the Gardner Aquatic Center lifeguard swung into action.
McDonald took over for the grieving man and gave direction while awaiting paramedics.
“Dylan was able to restore his heartbeat,” Mayor Chris Morrow told a crowd on Monday night. Morrow presented Dylan with a newly-created award, the Mayor’s Award of Distinction during a council meeting on July 7.
The award included a certificate and a paper weight, shaped like a silver star.
Morrow explained that in the military, the silver star medal is given for gallantry and valor.
Cindy Bettge, aquatic center manager, said the local lifeguards go through intense training.
“You can tell (Dylan) has a passion for what he does,” she said.
Ultimately, the man McDonald tried to save, Victor Peck, died, but his family and friends are grateful.
“Victor’s family considers Dylan a hero,” Dennis O’Brien, Peck’s husband, said.
A veteran of the U.S. Army, Peck contributed to the community by delivering meals on wheels and volunteering at the Festival on the Trails.
The American Legion is setting aside donated funds to award a scholarship in Peck’s name to McDonald. Donations can be made to the American Legion Post 19, with a note that the funds are to be used for the Peck scholarship.
McDonald was one of two Gardner employees earning the Mayor’s Award of Distinction. Morrow also presented an award to Mike Gardner, a public works engineering technician.
Gardner was working on a project near the Gardner Cemetery, when a car became stuck on the railroad tracks.
Seeing the vehicle trapped between the signal arms, Gardner raised the arms allowing the car to clear the tracks before the train reached the at-grade crossing.
“Apparently, this was a lot closer than anyone would have liked the train to have been to the automobile,” Morrow said. “We’re glad you were in the right place at the right time.”