FRAMINGHAM, Mass. (AP) — A veteran Massachusetts State Police trooper and the baby boy whose life he saved more than three decades ago were reunited this week, and through a strange twist of fate, that boy is now a fellow trooper.
Al Balestra, 63, met and shook hands Tuesday with 32-year-old Philip Kucha for the first time since their lives intersected near Logan International Airport on Oct. 18, 1983.
"I had a lump in my throat thinking, 'This kid is a grown man right now and you may have had part of that by saving his life,'?" Balestra told the Boston Herald.
Kucha, then 10 months old, was with his parents headed to the airport to pick up his grandfather when he started having convulsions.
His frantic mother spotted a police cruiser and asked for help. Balestra and a now-retired colleague, Stephen O'Brien, decided that because of the heavy traffic, it would take too long for an ambulance to arrive. So they bundled mother and son into their cruiser, turned on their siren and flashing blue lights and knifed through traffic to Massachusetts General Hospital.
Kucha's mother wrote a letter to state police at the time, thanking them for saving her son's life.
State police wrote back, and Kucha's mother recently found that letter and gave it to her son, who graduated from the state police academy in May 2014.
He decided to see if his life savers were still on the job.
"Hey, maybe these guys are still on," Kucha told The Boston Globe, "Sure enough, I found him."
Kucha has no memory of his rescue, and said it had nothing to do with his decision to become a state trooper.
Balestra sure remembers though. In fact, he clearly remembers being involved in saving three children during his four-decade law enforcement career.
"You always remember the little kids," he said.