City councilman steps in to save man using CPR during police promotion ceremony

A Jersey City councilman’s quick thinking helped save a man’s life after he collapsed at a police promotion ceremony. 

Councilman Daniel Rivera was in his usual spot in the City Hall chambers at the ceremony, with everyone in the room so happy, when suddenly the mood shifted.

“I hear the commotion and then I hear his daughter yell ‘Help, help’,” Rivera said. “That’s when I saw her dad keel over.”

John Macri, the father-in-law of Deputy Chief Michael Gajewski, had collapsed.

There was no pulse and he was not breathing. As a crowd gathered around, his daughter was administering chest compressions.

“Councilman Danny Rivera and my wife Dawn began to perform CPR on him,” Gajewski said. “She began the chest compressions, and Councilman Rivera began giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

“We gave him two big mouth-to-mouth blows into the mouth, and she kept on with the compressions and then he came back, but he was out for like a minute, no pulse, zero,” Rivera said. “You could feel the tension in the air.”

Then suddenly there was a pulse, a breath and the color started to return to his face. It seemed like the whole room at once exhaled.

“It was amazing to see his finger move, and then once we saw his finger move, you can actually see the color coming in,” Rivera said. “Then he just popped up and that was great.”

“My father started to come around again, he got his color back and his eyes opened up and he began speaking again,” Gajewski said.

Macri was spending the night in the hospital and is doing great.

The councilman, once a Marine, always a Marine, is happy to have helped.

“I have to tell you from the bottom of my heart, my entire family is very grateful to him,” Gajewski said.


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