Double play! Hero member saves again, this time at ball game

May 26 • 2023

Covington with Rep. Graves

Todd Covington certainly has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. How else can you explain two life-saving events in 13 months? 

Let’s start with his heroics May 24.  

Covington, a Kansas City, MO Chief Officers Local 3808 member, was attending a Washington Nationals game with Kansas City Local 42 member Joe Disciacca, their families, and friends.  

It was a beautiful night for baseball in the nation’s capital – until a man near the group in section 113 started choking. 

Covington, according to MLB reporter Grant Paulsen who shared the events on Twitter, let his training and instincts take over. 

“Just saw the most amazing thing at the Nats game,” Paulsen wrote. “Fans started yelling for help in mass. Turns out a man was choking. A guy hopped two rows and started performing the Heimlich Maneuver on him. Legit saved his life. After 20 seconds or so, the object came out. Everyone cheered.” 

 A remarkable night for Covington.  

“As soon as I realized he needed help, I jumped a couple of rows back to see what I could do,” Covington, who has training as a fire fighter and nurse, said. “I gave him a couple of back blows first because a lot of times that’s enough to do the trick, but he needed the Heimlich maneuver.  

“I don’t feel like a hero; chalk another one up for the good guys.” 

Disciacca with Rep. Graves

Paulsen begged to differ, later posting: “We overuse the term hero, but the guy saved a person’s life. Legit hero.” 

The choking fan offered to buy beers for the rest of the night, but Covington turned him down. 

“This story will not surprise anyone who knows Todd. He is a very humble guy who always wants to do his part to help others,” said Local 3808 President Clayton Calvin. “We are very proud to have him as a battalion chief for the Kansas City Fire Department and member of Local 3808.” 

Remember, this wasn’t Covington’s first time in the middle of a news event.  

He and Disciacca were in Washington, D.C., this week to receive the Ready Communities National Service Award from U.S. Representative Sam Graves (R-MO) for their actions during the June 2022 Mendon train derailment. 

That incident took place June 27, 2022, and was caused when an Amtrak train struck a dump truck.  

Covington, who was nearly crushed in the incident, and Disciacca were on their way to Chicago for a training event. They freed themselves from the train and, with the help of a Boy Scout troop on board, broke out windows and pulled dozens of people out to safety. Four people died in the crash. 

In an interview with KMBC 9, Covington summed up his actions perfectly. 

“It comes down to just being a good human,” Covington said. “It’s not, ‘Hey, I’m a fire fighter.’ If you have the ability to help out mankind, why would you not do that?”