Skip to content
Allegheny Health Network nurse and dog honored for heroic river man rescue – CBS Pittsburgh

By: KDKA-TV News Staff

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – An unlikely duo have been honored for their heroic actions over the past summer.

An AHN nurse and a dog named Tater Tot saved a man’s day and life one day in July.

On the Allegheny River at the River Forest Yacht Club, Tom Kissel, 76, was walking down the dock with his dog when suddenly a giant wave crashed into the dock, catching Kissel off guard.

As a result of the wave, Kissel was thrown into the water, hitting his head and losing consciousness on the way down.

The only one who witnessed his fall was Tater Tot.

“I don’t remember being knocked out,” Kissel recalls. “I went down into the water, the dog did not leave me. He was with me, he just swam around me. Mary Jo saw my hand under the water, they came towards me, her husband jumped into the water and brought me up to the surface.

Mary Jo Lender and her husband were mooring their boat when they saw Tater Tot circling Kissel and jumped into the action.

“We were hatching our boat, but the dog wading through the water caught our attention,” she recalls.

Mary Jo and her husband saw her arm in the water and it was then that her husband pulled it out of the water.

Mary Jo, nurse at AHN Allegheny Valley, then began the compressions, not stopping until the paramedics arrived.

“It was forever, but probably a good 15 to 20 minutes,” said Mary Jo. “Right now, I was in full nursing mode. ask my husband, I was sort of giving the direction, it kind of took over at the time. “

Mary Jo and Tom were reunited with Tom’s faithful companion Tater Tot on Tuesday to celebrate his good health.