Allegheny Health Network Nurse and Dog Honored for Heroic Rescuing a Man from the River – CBS Pittsburgh


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By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An unusual duo was honored for their heroic deeds last summer.

An AHN nurse and a dog named Tater Tot saved a man’s day and life one day in July.

On the Allegheny River in the River Forest Yacht Club, 76-year-old Tom Kissel was walking along the dock with his dog when suddenly a huge wave crashed into the dock and surprised Kissel.

Kissel was thrown into the water by the wave, hit his head and passed out on the way down.

The only one who saw his fall was Tater Tot.

“I can’t remember being knocked unconscious,” recalls Kissel. “I drowned in the water, the dog didn’t leave me. He was with me, he just swam around me. Mary Jo saw my hand under the water, they came to me, her husband jumped into the water and brought me to the surface. “

Mary Jo Lender and her husband were just docking when they saw Tater Tot circling Kissel and taking action.

“We covered our boat, but the dog splashing in the water caught our attention,” she recalls.

Mary Jo and her husband saw his arm in the water and her husband pulled him out of the water.

Mary Jo, a nurse in AHN Allegheny Valley, then started compressing and didn’t stop until paramedics arrived.

“It felt like forever, but probably a good 15-20 minutes,” said Mary Jo. “At the moment I was in full sister mode. Ask my husband, I gave some kind of direction, it just took control at the moment. “

Mary Jo and Tom were reunited on Tuesday along with Tom’s loyal companion, Tater Tot, to celebrate his good health.

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