By D. Cooper – Record Sports

The Becton athletic director performed the most heroic act of the spring season on a loading platform at his school last Tuesday. Bononno was teaching his U.S. History II class when he heard the alarm: Code Blue. Bononno, an athletic 48-year-old who has competed in triathlons, is part of the school response team when that alarm wails. Following procedure, Bononno grabbed the nearest AED (automated external defibrillator) machine on the way to the emergency. He flew down a flight of stairs, down a hallway, and into the cafeteria and loading dock. There he found a man face down, not breathing. It was the construction manager who had been working at the school and overseeing projects. He and Bononno had talked sports multiple times. But at that moment, Bononno didn’t recognize him. “He showed all the signs of not being alive,” Bononno said. With help from school nurse Linda Demanski and Becton wrestling coach Mike Settembrino, Bononno shocked the man and began to perform CPR. In a few minutes, an ambulance came and took him away. Shaken, Bononno returned to class. “They had a lot of questions, and all I said was to say a prayer for him,” Bononno said. In just a few hours, Bononno got word that the man had two stents inserted and was recovering. Bononno planned on visiting him in the hospital over the weekend, but he already was released. “I found out later that he has five kids,” Bononno said. “That made me feel really good; that was probably the most emotional part, that he was able to go home to his kids.” Bononno didn’t want a parade or any publicity. I heard about this at the Bergen County coaches dinner, and Bononno was just happy it all worked out. “I really thought it was a drill,” Bononno said with a laugh. “Last time we had a drill, I [jokingly] yelled at my superintendent that I had pulled a hamstring. “The machines are idiot proof. I think they should have a machine like this in every public building.”