HATFIELD HOMETOWN HERO

Matt DeCesare said it was empathy for others that made him jump out of his car and start CPR on Tom Pepe, thanks to the beat of "Stayin' Alive."

Phillies, Hatfield Township honor Hometown Hero who saved life of man in cardiac arrest along Lansdale Avenue

Hatfield Hero Matt DeCesare (center) with Tom Pepe and a Phillies grounds crew member.

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The Bee Gees helped Hatfield Township’s Matt DeCesare save a life.

Like something straight from “The Office,” the rhythm and beat of the disco king’s classic “Stayin’ Alive” was nothing more than literal one November Montgomery Township afternoon.

According to “The Hatfield Connection Spring-Summer 2024” resident newsletter, DeCesare and his wife Rita were driving serendipitously on Lansdale Avenue the afternoon of November 17, 2023, when they saw Montgomery Township resident Tom Pepe collapse after a run.

    Thanks to the Phillies for providing some great seats for Matt DeCesare, right, and Tom Pepe.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 

Thinking it was a hurt ankle, DeCesare stopped the car and jumped out to help. It was far worse, per the newsletter: Pepe was in cardiac arrest.

As Risa dialed 911, DeCesare, a skydiving instructor and car detailer, jumped in and started chest compressions, as another bystander aided with the famous Bee Gees tune. It was not just a one-off joke on the NBC comedy; it is recognized as an example of a steady beat for chest compressions in CPR.

The dynamic duo were relieved by VMSC Emergency Medical Services, who brought Pepe’s vitals back on the way to the hospital. At Thanksgiving dinner, Pepe was eating with his family, saved by DeCesare, a stent, a hospital stay, and disco.

Pepe’s wife, Roseanne, rushed to the scene, and met DeCesare, who had no prior CPR training.

“It was remarkable how calm he was,” she said in the report. “It was so impressive.”

    The Hatfield Township crew.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 
    Hatfield Township Commissioners with Matt DeCesare and Tom Pepe on PhanaVision.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 

DeCesare told Hatfield Township he is empathic toward his neighbors.

“I knew I was meant to be in that position that day. I knew I had to do whatever I could,” he said.

 Now, DeCesare is an official Hatfield Hero, presented the honor in January by Hatfield Township Commissioners; VMSC and Montgomery Township Police personnel were also honored as heroes.

Honor a Hatfield resident who is making a difference in big or small ways by nominating them as the next Hatfield Hero at [email protected].

DeCesare’s Hero Quest did not end there – he walked out at the end of the third inning of Thursday night’s Phillies game – alongside Pepe – and changed third base as a Phillies Hometown Hero. He was paid tribute by the team and Rothman Institute “for saving a life in his own community.”

    Matt DeCesare with the new base he would install at 3rd base.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 
    On the way to "pre-game" for the Hometown Hero ceremony at 3rd base.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 

“The Philadelphia Phillies were on the wrong end of the score, but everything else about last night's game was spectacular,” posted Hatfield Township on Facebook. “The Phillies honored our Hatfield Hero … along with Tom Pepe, the man whose life he helped save, and was cheered by 43,000+ fans who heard the story.”

    Tom Pepe and Matt DeCesare on Phanavision Thursday night.
 Hatfield Township/Facebook 
 
 

The township was featured on the scoreboard as well, and the evening ended with a fireworks display.

“A huge thank you to the Phillies Hometown Hero program, to the VMSC Emergency Medical Services Lansdale for nominating Matt for this honor, and to all those who came out to support him. It was a magical night we won't soon forget,” wrote Hatfield Township.

author

Tony Di Domizio

Tony Di Domizio is the Managing Editor of NorthPennNow and PerkValleyNow, and a staff writer for WissNow. Tony graduated from Kutztown University and went on to serve as a reporter and editor for various news organizations, including Patch, The Reporter, and The Morning Call. He loves creative writing, action figure collecting & reselling, music, and films with Michael Keaton & Al Pacino.


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