A hero in the family



The long July Fourth holiday weekend was a source of fun and enjoyment for most of us. For one local family, it also produced an authentic hero.

Broadway resident and Wakefield High School teacher Erin Chrisos, her husband Steve and their two children, three and-a-half-year-old Noah and one-month-old Fiona were on vacation in Old Orchard Beach last week with Erin’s parents and her younger brother, Wakefield Police Sergeant Thomas Flynn.

But at about 6:30 p.m. last Saturday, an otherwise peaceful vacation in Maine turned terrifying and chaotic for the Chrisos family.

“My one month-old daughter vomited and began to choke,” Erin says. “Every parent’s worse nightmare is realizing your child is not breathing.”

But thanks to his police training, Tom Flynn knew what to do and took charge of the situation.

“My brother immediately remained calm, took control and began to provide rescue measures on my daughter, clearing her airway and stabilizing her until Old Orchard Beach 911 could respond,” Erin says. “His ability to remain calm while working on his own niece not only speaks to the training and professionalism of the Wakefield PD, to his own skill as an officer, but in this instance also saved my young daughter’s life. We are forever indebted to my brother and the training he received. They are the reason my little girl is happy and healthy today. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Erin also has high praise for the first responders from Old Orchard Beach Fire and Rescue who took Fiona to Maine Medical Center in Biddeford where she spent several hours for observation and to run tests. The paramedics even returned to the hospital later to check on little Fiona.

“She rebounded really quickly with a little bit of oxygen given on the way to the hospital to supplement the few seconds she went completely without air,” Erin says. “Other than being extra sleepy for a few days, she is back to her normal and healthy self.”

“It was a chaotic incident and was like living a nightmare,” Erin says, “but my brother not only kept calm to save her life but was also reassuring everyone else that she was going to be OK. My brother is also her godfather so he turned out to be a true blessing for her.”

Erin says that her son has his own take on what his uncle did to save his sister’s life.

“Luckily, Noah was too distracted by the Scooby Doo episode he was watching to notice what was happening outside,” Erin says, “although he does tell everyone his uncle is a superhero like Batman.”

Erin’s version of what her brother did is slightly different.

“He reminded us,” Erin says, “how true the saying is, ‘Real heroes don’t wear capes.’”

[This story originally appeared in the Wakefield Daily Item.]

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