The CPR training that a young boy received two years ago may have saved his younger sister’s life.
On November 11, 2017, at around midnight, 14-year-old Adrian Mesic was on his phone in his bedroom when he heard a commotion in 11-year-old Alisa Mesic’s room.
“I heard some heavy breathing and I thought she was laughing,” the grade nine student said. “I, however, then heard a big thud and when I got to her room, my sister was on the ground rolled up in the bedsheet.”
He awoke his mother and ran downstairs to alert his father, who was in the basement watching TV.
To become a babysitter for kids in the neighbourhood, the young boy took a First Aid course when he was in grade seven.
“When I got up into the room, Adrian called 9-1-1 and then handed me the phone to talk to the operator while he started to perform CPR on his sister,” said Mick Mesic.
Constables Mike Wiseman and Conrad Wong were in close proximity when the medical distress call came over the radio.
“We were about a minute away,” said Wiseman, who joined the Service 12 years ago. “When we got there, Adrian was on top of his sister, doing chest compressions. Though she was a greyish-blue, she was breathing on her own. We decided to take over and politely asked the family to leave the room even though we knew that was hard for them. It was best we had a clear room so we could do a medical assessment.”
Doctors diagnosed the 11-year-old and were able to discharge her later that day.
“I am so proud of my son,” said Ana Mesic. “Though he was worried about his sister, he remained calm and acted like an adult under the challenging circumstances.”
The teenager, whose quick thinking and immediate actions may have saved his sister’s life, was presented with a Community Service Award on April 22 at Toronto Police headquarters.
“This young man is very deserving of this honour,” said Wiseman. “He didn’t hesitate to act and the CPR training he received came in very useful.”
Sergeant Bryan Maharaj, who suffered a serious leg injury while trying to contain an emotionally disturbed man on August 14, 2017, met the two civilians who came to his rescue and moved him out of harm’s way, for the first time, at the awards ceremony.
Maharaj was the first officer on the scene after a mother called police and said her son, who was schizophrenic, wasn’t taking his medication. The officer was unaware at the time that the man had punched his mother in the head and slashed the family’s car tires.
When Maharaj arrived on the scene, the man was standing near the porch, armed with two knives.
“I tried to de-escalate the situation through verbal communication, but that didn’t work,” he said. “When other officers arrived and tried to distract the man, that allowed me to come up from behind and use a Conducted Energy Weapon (CEW) on him."
The CEW prongs failed to attach properly to the man.
"That wasn’t effective and he charged at me. As I tried to create a distance between myself and him, the edge of my boot got stuck in the pavement and I rolled over my ankle as I fell heavily on the ground.”
Two men on a nearby construction crew put themselves in harm’s way to pull Maharaj to safety while other officers confronted the armed man who was eventually subdued with a CEW.
The injury was life-altering for Maharaj, as physicians contemplated amputation.
Maharaj, who walks with a limp, learned that the civilians – Peter Geraci and Don Parks – were receiving Community Awards two days before the event.
“I told my wife I had to come down here and meet you,” he told the two citizens. “These guys put themselves in danger even though they didn’t have to do that. They made a difference in my life and I am very appreciative.”
Five days before his 18th birthday last September, Chance Allick and two friends were hanging out in a building in 31 Division when they heard the fire alarm and saw smoke coming out of a unit. Allick kicked down the door and the three men, on entering the unit, saw a woman on fire.
They poured water over her and awoke her roommate, who called 9-1-1.
The woman, who received second-degree burns, spent 12 days in hospital in an induced coma.
Community activist Andrea Tabnor accompanied Allick to the awards ceremony.
“I am extremely proud of this young man for his bravery,” she said. “He risked his life to save someone else.”
Chief Mark Saunders and Toronto Police Services Board member Uppala Chandrasekera presented the awards.
“These are days we wish we could have every day, but we don’t,” said Saunders, of recognizing the great work of Torontonians. “The citizens we honour here today have done extraordinary things under difficult circumstances. We have always said that in order to be able to be the best and safest city in the world, it’s not only a matter of having the greatest police service in the world, but it is also about having the greatest citizens. These are the people who put others before self and that’s such a special quality to have.”
Chandrasekera said that, as the Service undergoes an exciting period of modernization and transformation, the public is being counted on to partner with Toronto Police to create a safer Toronto.
“Each of the individuals being honoured today rose to the challenge and did what was necessary to prevent a death or a crime,” she said. “Through their quick thinking, their keen observations, their compassion and their persistence, they helped to capture suspects, solve crimes, assist people in need and even save lives.”
Chandrasekera reminded the award recipients that their extraordinary actions played a critical role in building safe neighbourhoods and communities.
“Selfless and compassionate actions of individuals like you contribute beyond measure to making Toronto the best and safest city in the world,” she said. “You have our utmost respect, our sincere praise and deepest thanks.”