Brendan Clark ’21
Tom Dalton, an employee of WRTC, Trinity College’s radio station, was recently in the news due to his life-saving heroism. Dalton, a former Deputy Chief with the Hartford Fire Department who retired in 2017, intervened to save a life on Mar. 9, 2019 during Hartford’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Dalton is the host of Questionable Choices on WRTC and is known by the moniker “The Chief.” He is also a drummer in Glastonbury’s St. Patrick’s Pipe Band, which has long-performed in the parade.
This year, Dalton, along with twenty members of the Pipe Band, were the first band marching in the parade. According to a Mar. 12, 2019 article on WRTC’s website, a piper marching in front of Dalton went into cardiac arrest as the band marched along Asylum Avenue. Dalton told WRTC, “he just went down in front of me and from there, it was all hands-on deck.” Dalton’s heroism has been praised by the community, and his quick-thinking likely saved his colleague’s life.
Dalton immediately commenced mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and summoned an on-duty police officer. He directed that they request an ambulance and an automated external defibrillator device. Dalton recalled that “it all happened really quickly” and noted that “people responded and did what they were supposed to do.” Dalton’s heroism was witnessed by the throngs of people watching and participating in the parade, which ground to a halt while Dalton engaged in resuscitation.
Dalton admitted that his appearance was likely manic, remarking, “here I am, yelling and screaming at people to do this or do that, and I’m wearing a kilt.” Subsequently, the man was rushed to Saint Francis Hospital and was reported to be in a stable condition. Despite the incident, Dalton told WRTC that “we just dusted ourselves off, got back in formation, and finished the parade.”
In a Mar. 15, 2019 article in The Hartford Courant, Dalton emphasized that “every second counts” and noted that “you go back to your highest level of training when you’re in a very stressful situation and you keep it simple.” The family of his colleague declined to comment further but “thanked Dalton and the other first responders for their actions” according to the Courant.
Dalton’s colleague was fortunate to have had the incident happen when it did. Deputy Chief Alvaro Cucuta told the Courant that “had that [the incident] happened four hours earlier or later on that evening, it could have been an entirely different outcome.” Dalton’s heroism and service to the community is certainly worthy of the highest praise.