Berwyn police officer and Afghanistan veteran Eric Tripoli saved the life of an elderly man on June 8. He has been recognized by Mayor Robert J. Lovero and Acting Chief Michael Cimaglia of the Berwyn Police Department and was presented the ‘life-saving award’ on June 28.
Eric Tripoli has always been known as a soft-spoken, humble man, according to his mother. Though he may be “camera shy,” the Afghanistan combat veteran is used to springing into action in life-or-death situations.
When driving back from a garage sale detail on Wednesday, June 8, officer Tripoli was flagged down by a truck driver near the BNSF railroad crossing. An elderly man was stuck on the tracks, according to the witness, and Eric used his training to assess the situation.
After escorting the man away from the intersection, Eric turned his back and saw that the man returned to the middle of the railroad. “A few seconds later the gates came down and the bells and lights were going off. I ran up to him again and he was non-responsive,” said Tripoli.
Tripoli swept the man up and rushed him off the railroad once more before the train zipped by. “The man told us [other police units and watch commander] he just froze up,” said Tripoli. “I don’t know if it was out of fear, but he said he couldn’t move his legs.”
With just over a year of experience on the police force, it’s evident that officer Tripoli’s military training played a key role in saving the elderly man’s life. The Berwyn Police Department, along with his mother Mary Ann, are all very proud of Eric. “I think he’s amazing,” she said. “I only wish his grandma could have been here today because he was the apple of her eye.”