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Boy Saved by Massachusetts State Trooper in 1983 Grows Up to Join the Force

June 25, 2015  | 

State troopers Philip Kucha, right, and Al Balestra meet again after Balestra rescued an ill Kucha when he was an infant in 1983. (Photo: Massachusetts State Police)
State troopers Philip Kucha, right, and Al Balestra meet again after Balestra rescued an ill Kucha when he was an infant in 1983. (Photo: Massachusetts State Police)

When state trooper Al Balestra met Philip Kucha — the 10-month-old baby boy he helped save more than 30 years ago — he didn’t just shake hands with the man. He shook hands with trooper Kucha, wearing the same uniform.

Their paths first crossed on Oct. 18, 1983.

Kucha, not even a year old, was in his car seat, riding with his mom and dad to Logan 
International Airport to pick up his grandfather. Traffic was heavy as the Burlington family exited the tunnel. Kucha began having convulsions, his eyes rolling into the back of his head, the Boston Herald reports.

The couple spotted a state police cruiser and pulled over.

Balestra and trooper Stephen O’Brien sprang into action. They called for an ambulance, but it got stuck in tunnel traffic. The baby’s condition was worsening.

Balestra put the baby boy and his mother into the back of the cruiser with O’Brien, turned on the siren and lights and raced to Massachusetts General Hospital.

Now 32, Philip Kucha served in the National Guard in Iraq and Afghanistan. He became a Belmont cop, and then a statie in May 2014. A few months ago, his mother came across the old letter and showed it to him.

Kucha thanked Balestra. And the veteran trooper gave the new guy some advice: Always treat the people you deal with “like they are your family members.”


Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

[email protected] @ 7/8/2015 6:43 PM

Wow. Talk about recruiting them young! Glad this young Trooper got a chance to thank his "Man in Blue" after so many years. I remember reading an article in a Penn. paper about two Philly cops reuniting in a hospital years after they had "met" deterring an armed robber in a Phila. store. Call it Karma. Blues, Stay Safe!

James Barth @ 7/10/2015 11:53 PM

Great story !! Congratulations Trooper Kucha on becoming a member of the MSP. Now it's your turn to pay it forward my brother, best of luck and stay safe. Good job Trooper Balestra, stay safe as well my brother.

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