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Ex-firefighter-EMT dies reviving neighbor who had heart attack

Robert Cordani responded to a medical call for a neighbor suffering from cardiac arrest and began to perform CPR before collapsing from cardiac arrest himself


By Matthew Nanci
The Times Herald-Record

WURTSBORO, N.Y. — Robert Cordani had always been there for other people.

Whether it was as a firefighter in Wurtsboro, an EMT for the Mamakating First Aid Squad, or a neighbor, friend or brother.

"He was one of those neighbors or friends that if you needed something, 24 hours a day, he's down there to help you," said his brother, Art Cordani.

When Robert Cordani died on Saturday, he was doing what he has his whole life: helping others.

Cordani responded to a medical call for a neighbor suffering from cardiac arrest about 6 p.m. in Wurtsboro Hills and began to perform CPR before collapsing from a cardiac arrest of his own, according to a statement from Wurtsboro Fire Chief Richard Dunn.

Emergency responders attempted to revive Cordani and brought him to Orange Regional Medical Center in the Town of Wallkill, where he was pronounced dead, the statement says. He was 62.

The neighbor Cordani was helping also died.

Cordani is survived by his wife of eight years, Alma.

"I was thinking, just like everybody else, that's him," Art Cordani said when he heard the news. "It didn't make a difference who you are, where you came from, if you were likable or not likable; if somebody needed help, he would be there. That was him. He would never look the other way."

The Cordanis grew up in the Bronx, and Robert moved to Wurtsboro when he was 19 or 20, according to Art.

He joined the fire department in 1993 and recently retired, according to Dunn. Since then, he'd been an active honorary member.

"He was very caring in his community," Dunn said. "He was all about doing the right thing."

Robert, a court officer for Mamakating Town Court, was also active with the Fraternal Order of Police, the Ellenville Elks Lodge and a hunting club, Art said.

When not working or helping others, Cordani was a drummer and made wine.

Vincent Rampe, owner of Danny's Restaurant in Wurtsboro, used to be Cordani's neighbor and recalled spending time at his house sipping wine and eating soppressata.

Rampe trusted Cordani with his house's alarm code because he knew he could count on him to look after the place whenever he was away.

Rampe called him an all-around great guy and an asset to the community.

"I'm gonna miss him a lot," he said.

Copyright 2018 The Times Herald-Record

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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