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UpSide Classic: Coincidence brought the two Good Samaritans together to help

The child stopped breathing. Two strangers stepped up to help.

They were in the right place at the right time to help save a child.
They were in the right place at the right time to help save a child.Read moreFile

This un-bylined article originally appeared in The Daily News on Nov. 12, 1980.

Darby Borough Police Sgt. Thomas Salerno had a detective’s desk job for years, until three weeks ago when a budget squeeze forced him onto the street.

Henrietta LaRue, a nurse, would normally be at work but just happened to take the day off last Friday to visit her doctor.

Through one of life’s coincidences, their paths crossed to help save a baby’s life.

Darby Borough Mayor Timothy Coonelly said Salerno answered a call about 10 a.m. to help a child who had stopped breathing in a local drugstore. Giving the child mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, Salerno ran out to the car to drive him to the hospital when he realized he couldn’t do both at the same time, Coonelly said.

That’s when LaRue happened down the street, announced she was a nurse, and offered her help.

“She took the time to come forward and help out,” Coonelly said last night, adding that Salerno "is first class and deserves some recognition. "

Coonelly, who once gave a commendation to a woman regarded as a modern-day Annie Oakley for waving a pistol at neighborhood punks who tried to rob her once too often, said he’s thinking about giving another award to the two Good Samaritans .

The child, a 22-month-old boy, was listed in serious but stable condition in Children’s Hospital last night with an undisclosed ailment.