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Four honored by city for outstanding service

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A supervisor at a city multigenerational center who saved a man from choking; a teenager who spends much of her time volunteering to help children and the homeless; and two Albuquerque police officers who calmed and assisted an elderly couple who were burgled, were honored Friday for their efforts by Mayor Richard J. Berry.

Thomas Gallagher, supervisor of the North Domingo Baca Multigenerational Center, was notified that center regular Norman Malm, 86, had suddenly become unresponsive while eating lunch. Gallagher instructed an employee to immediately call 911 and get a defibrillator ready.

“Norman was slouched over in his chair, ice blue and clammy,” recalled Gallagher, who first performed the Heimlich maneuver on Malm and then began doing CPR. “I got to compression number 22 and he gasped. I rolled him on his side, did a finger swipe to clear his mouth of debris and removed a brussels sprout that he had apparently swallowed whole and had lodged in his esophagus.”


COURTESY CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE Nainika Ravichandran, Volunteer of the Month.

About the same time, the Albuquerque Fire Department arrived and took over, Gallagher said.


COURTESY CITY OF ALBUQUERQUE APD officer Paula Mauser along with APD officer William Velasquez, Friday’s Heroes.

Berry named Gallagher as the Employee of the Week and praised his quick thinking and action. Malm could not be in City Hall Friday for the ceremony. He was traveling to visit his grandchildren.

With everything she is involved in, it’s not clear when 17-year-old Nainika Ravichandran has time to sleep.

The Sandia Preparatory School graduate who will attend the University of New Mexico was named by Berry as Volunteer of the Month.

She began volunteering when she was 11 years old, joining her mother at Roadrunner Food Bank. She has since donated more than 1,100 hours to an array of nonprofits, particularly projects that help children and the homeless.

At Sandia, she was president of Helping Hands. The student organization raised money to buy new shoes for economically disadvantaged from the Mission Avenue Elementary School, and made blankets for children at Cuidando Los Ninos and for people struggling with homelessness.

Ravichandran also volunteers with the UNM Foundation’s Refugee Well-Being Project, where she tutored refugee children to help them adjust to their host country, and where she organized a clothing drive on their behalf.

Ravichandran, who wants to become a surgeon, has volunteered in the emergency department at Presbyterian Healthcare Services and completed an internship at the New Mexico Orthopaedic Surgery Center.

Albuquerque police officers Paula Mauser and William Velasquez were named Friday’s Heroes for their service to Kendal and Jacqueline Hayes, both 88, whose vehicle was broken into and personal items stolen while they were traveling through Albuquerque.

The officers could see that the elderly couple was clearly upset. They carried the Hayes’ remaining luggage up to their third-floor hotel room, arranged to have their vandalized vehicle moved to a safe spot in front of the hotel’s entrance, and remained with them long enough to calm them from their ordeal.

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