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Never Quit winners are Rochester, N.Y., school employees who saved a student’s life

Jushawn Rucker (left) and David DiPasquale, who work for the Rochester City School District in New York, have been recognized for their quick action in saving a student's life on Dec. 20. Photo: Council 66
Never Quit winners are Rochester, N.Y., school employees who saved a student’s life
By Pablo Ros ·

They may have different callings and be at different stages in their careers, and they may have different life experiences. But Jushawn Rucker and David DiPasquale have something in common: they share a passion for public service.

Rucker is a school security officer, while DiPasquale is an athletic trainer. They both work for the Rochester City School District in western New York.

On Dec. 20, they were working a junior varsity basketball game at one of the schools in the district when a 15-year-old player collapsed.

“I was in another area of the school,” Rucker recalls. “I was helping people scan their tickets, making sure nobody had weapons on them. Then another safety officer who knew I was trained in emergency medical services approached me and told me there was a kid that was laid out on the floor and needed help.”

“The kid was on the other side of the gym from where I was,” DiPasquale says. “Somebody thought he was having a seizure and had placed him on his side, but in fact he didn’t have a pulse.”

Rucker and DiPasquale began CPR. They called for an automated external defibrillator, or AED, which was brought to them. As an athletic trainer, DiPasquale not only knew CPR but had taught it; he had once saved a man’s life at an airport. Rucker, too, knew CPR, and his timing could not have been better: he had finished his training a few weeks before.

They placed the AED pads on the student, and the machine advised a shock. Then they continued with compressions. By the time the paramedics arrived, the student was showing vague signs of life.

“He wasn’t really quite there,” DiPasquale recalls, “but he was alive. Then the paramedics took out their own AED and shocked him again. This time the kid came to life, and he told them, ‘Don’t ever do that again!’”

The student was taken to a hospital and made a full recovery. But without the quick actions of Rucker and DiPasquale, the outcome could have been tragic.

For their heroic actions that day and their service to their community, Rucker and DiPasquale, who are members of AFSCME Local 2419 (New York Council 66), are winners of our union’s Never Quit Service Award. The award recognizes public service workers who go above and beyond the call of duty to make their communities better.

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