Antonio Biafora commended for rescuing freezing woman

Pike County honors driver for his quick action and dedication to residents


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  • Robert Spinelli (left) thanks Pike County Transportation driver Antonio Biafora for saving his mom as Robin LaDolce, director of the Area Agency on Aging, looks on. (Photo by Charles Reynolds)



Antonio Biafora was driving his usual route, with subzero temperatures and heavy snow already on the ground and in the forecast. He noticed that Joyce Spinelli was not at her door, as she usually was. So he got out to investigate.

By Charles Reynolds
— Ronald Reagan once said, “Heroes may not be braver than anyone else. They're just braver five minutes longer.”

President Reagan never met Antonio Biafora, 77, a 15-year driver for Pike County Transportation whose quick, alert actions last winter saved a woman's life.

Biafora was driving his usual route on Feb. 12, with subzero temperatures and heavy snow already on the ground and in the forecast. He had a pick-up appointment for 9 a.m. in the Rowland area of Lackawaxen Township. He noticed that Joyce Spinelli was not at her door, as she usually was. So he got out to investigate.

That's when he heard faint calls for help coming from around the house. He found the 81-year old woman on the ground, and in the snow, calling for help.

Spinelli had gone out the back door to put out trash and slipped while trying to get back inside. She'd been on the ground for approximately 30 minutes. Everyone in the house had already gone for the day, with no one scheduled to return until later that evening.

Biafora helped Spinelli into the house and stayed with her until her son Robert arrived. Robert then took her to Wayne Memorial Hospital. She was later transported to Lehigh Valley medical Center. She's now doing much better, except for still feeling a little numb.

“He's our hero,” Robert Spinelli said of Biafora at the May 21 meeting of the Pike County Commissioners, where he was publicly commended.

“We are paisans,” said Biafora, his arms around Robert.

“We are both Calabrese,” Robert agreed, smiling. He was referring to the Calabria region of southern Italy — the "toe" of the Italian peninsula — where they both grew up. And then he hugged Biafora tighter.

Robin LaDolce, director of the Pike County Area Agency on Aging, presented Biafora with a Certificate of Appreciation by for his heroic actions. She's known him ever since joining the county's transportation department.

This is not Biafora's first act of heroism. About a year or so ago, he found a man who'd had a heart attack. He called for emergency services and began performing CPR until help arrived. Because of Biafora's speedy response and knowledge of life-saving techniques, he survived.

Commissioner Rich Caridi praised Biafora for his quick thinking and dedication to Pike County residents. County drivers get involved above and beyond the call of duty, he said.

“We thank you and salute you, sir,” Caridi told Biafora.

Caridi took the opportunity to talk about plans to have all drivers certified in CPR and first aid. In fact, he said, training center director Timothy Knapp is already at work teaching drivers — one of whom might become Pike County's next hero.

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