Father & Son Have Rescued Local Residents For Decades
By MIRIAM FINDER ANNENBERG
Journal & Topics Reporter
Fourteen years ago, Park Ridge resident Louie LoBianco was playing basketball at a local recreation center when he heard someone calling his name for help. After the now-retired Evanston fire chief and paramedic found a man lying on the ground in cardiac arrest, he and a nearby nurse performed CPR until paramedics arrived.
“Every Feb. 12, I got flowers from this guy,” LoBianco said of the man, who recently passed away. “Every year he’d come to the door: ‘I’m still here!’”
Being a civilian hero might seem like a once-in-a-lifetime event, but this wasn’t the first time LoBianco came to the rescue.
In 1992, he was jogging along Busse Highway when he heard tires screeching and saw a car spinning. As the vehicle passed by, he noticed the driver inside slumped over the steering wheel. As the car spun back around, it scraped against another vehicle, slowing its speed. LoBianco took the opportunity to jump into the moving car and shut it off. The driver had fallen into a diabetic coma.
The 100 Club of Cook County, an organization that supports families of fallen officers, awarded a Valor Award to LoBianco for his assistance.
Identifying those in need and stepping in has become a trend for LoBianco and his family.
Tony LoBianco, Louie’s son, works as a Rosemont Public Safety K-9 officer. In August 2017, he was off duty and out walking his dog around 10:30 at night.
“Something catches me out of the corner of my eye,” he said. “It was my neighbor. He was down in his driveway.”
After discovering the neighbor had no pulse, Tony LoBianco started CPR until paramedics arrived.
Both Louie and Tony credit their professional training with making them more attune to potential emergency situations. They know what someone in distress looks like and what steps to take when someone needs help.
“I pick up on things. I see things that aren’t right,” LoBianco said. “I did this almost 30 years...you’re just more aware.”
This ability helped when LoBianco discovered a kneeling neighbor was in cardiac arrest, or when he noted the dark circles around a man’s eye that indicated a skull fracture, for which he had emergency surgery.
Tony LoBianco said part of the job for first responders is thinking through potential emergencies and the correct steps to take in those situations. When confronted with a situation, like finding a neighbor in cardiac arrest, chances are the responder has already spent some time considering their response, and the training kicks in.
“When it happens, you just jump in,” he said.
Tony LoBianco’s first experience jumping in occurred when he was just 12 years old. He punched a choking classmate in the stomach, successful dislodging the object cutting off his breathing.
“His technique wasn’t right, but it was very effective,” LoBianco said.
LoBianco also has a similar story of childhood heroism. He said when growing up, he and some friends successfully chased and apprehended a burglar with the aid of their toy guns.
Nowadays, the two continue focusing on helping as they can, coming to the assistance of those in need until first responders arrive.
“We’re trying to give our first responders something to work with,” LoBianco said. “You try to give them a second chance.”