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Riverhead Senior Center employee recognized for saving choking man

Penny Brown Riverhead

When pictures were being taken to celebrate “Penny Brown Day” at Tuesday’s Riverhead Town Board meeting, 78-year-old Dante Mazzerelli appeared to be standing off to the side, just watching.

But when he was asked to join the picture, Mr. Mazzerelli threw his arms around Ms. Brown and began to weep.

“I want to thank you that I can live another day,” he said.

Ms. Brown, who works at the Riverhead Town Senior Center in Aquebogue, was helping to serve lunch for the center’s annual Luau on July 28 when she noticed that Mr. Mazzerelli was choking on food and in obvious distress.

Ms. Brown, who had attended a staff Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation class at the center a few months earlier, immediately responded and used abdominal thrusts to dislodge the food.

The Town Board gave Ms. Brown a plaque in appreciation of her efforts at its meeting Tuesday, and proclaimed it “Penny Brown Day.”

“You saved my life,” Mr. Mazzerelli said through tears.

“Dante, it was my pleasure to be right there for you,” Ms. Brown said.

Caption: Dante Mazzerelli shares an embrace with Penny Brown at Tuesday’s meeting.

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