Michael Frank: A True Hero



Michael Frank at the Board of Education meeting

Thursday, Nov. 7 seemed like a normal day for junior Michael Frank. He walked to Lynbrook Bagels with a friend during his lunch period, but as he was checking out of the local shop, something out of the ordinary happened: an older gentleman who was eating lunch with his adult daughters began visibly choking on his food.

“It was an enormous shock when I was standing on line with my friends and heard a woman screaming like I have never heard anyone scream before. I initially froze and thought ‘Wow, this can’t be happening right now,’ but then I dialed 911,” explained eyewitness Julia Swerdin, a sophomore. Fortunately, Frank was able to take a more hands-on approach. Upon hearing a shout to call 911, Frank stepped into action to help the man in distress. He quickly positioned himself behind the man, grabbed his abdomen, and bravely began executing the Heimlich maneuver. Now beginning to lose consciousness, the gentleman fell to his knees, with the food still blocking his airway, to which Frank bent down, grabbed the man again and forcefully managed to dislodge the blockage. As Frank explained, “When I first heard someone shout to call 911, I didn’t really give it too much thought. I automatically just ran to help. I didn’t have any previous first-aid training in the Heimlich [maneuver], but I am certified in CPR and had a basic idea on what to do.” His actions ultimately saved the man’s life and, if it had not been for Frank’s quick response and keen instincts, the outcome could have been tragic.

“I think if Mike hadn’t been there that day, things definitely could have ended differently, so thank god the man was saved and is now okay,” commented Swerdin.

Shortly after Frank had stabilized the man, police and EMS arrived at the scene and ushered him to the hospital. Frank then walked back to the high school and continued out his day as if his life-saving abilities were nothing out of the ordinary. As Superintendent Melissa Burak explained, “This is an extraordinary act to save someone’s life and to remain so calm to carry on the rest of your day and to be so calm during the whole process.” She added, “We are very proud of Michael Frank.”

It was not until police arrived at LHS later on to alert Principal Joe Rainis of the news, that Frank’s heroism was first recognized. “I learned of it from two Lynbrook police officers who came to the building from Lynbrook Bagels. They informed me that one of our students had essentially saved someone’s life,” explained Rainis.

Before making the news of Frank’s encounter public, Rainis called to inform his parents. “Interestingly, I wanted to call and speak to his parents, and I spoke to Mr. Frank. I made him aware of what Michael had done over at Lynbrook Bagels and told the whole story. Mr. Frank said, ‘I’m not surprised,’ which tells me something about how things are run in the Frank household,” Rainis said with a chuckle. “I think that his parents’ expectations helped to allow Michael to be ready when the time was needed,” he added. 

The following day, Frank’s story was broadcasted over the school P.A. system by Rainis, and his bravery has since been recognized by his peers, teachers, and even the Board of Education.

Frank’s commendable actions serve as a testament to his character and are ones the Lynbrook community can be proud of. Rainis said, “How can you not be proud to have someone like that in your community, much less in your high school?”