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Bill Tracy smiles recently with Englewood Community Hospital nurse Angie Bonakoske. Tracy received flowers and thank yous from nurses after he helped restrain a confrontational patient at the hospital.

By ELAINE ALLEN-EMRICH

Community News Editor

ENGLEWOOD — A disabled veteran was deemed a hero after he helped tackle a man allegedly trying to harm a nurse.

After undergoing a five-hour operation to save his right leg, 64-year-old Bill Tracy was recovering last week at Englewood Community Hospital when he heard a nurse screaming.

“I was on bed rest and attached to an IV and have two stents, but heard a ruckus going on near my room, I got up and went toward the nurse who was screaming,” said Tracy, a retired Army Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne.

“It looked like this man was coming off of some kind of drugs. I came up behind him. I didn’t know he hit her. I helped pin him down until Tess (the nurse) could call the head nurse Cindy and security came too. Tess wasn’t hurt, just shaken up a bit.”

Bill said hospital security took over the incident and he went back to his bed.

The next day, Bill’s sister April was visiting, and she watched in awe as 10 nurses, some with flowers, stopped by his hospital room to thank Bill for his help.

“My big brother is a hero,” April Tracy wrote on her Facebook page after posting a photo of Bill with a nurse.

“He is a great guy,” she told the Sun in a telephone interview.

Bill, who wrote a book called “The Talking Part is Over,” says he doesn’t feel like a hero but was just in the right place at the right time.

“I used to go to the VA Hospital for treatment, but this time I was at Englewood Hospital,” he said. “I told my sister I’m not a hero, but joked that this could only happen to me. I told my son who just got out of the Air Force two weeks ago what happened at the hospital. He thought it was hysterical.”

The longtime Englewood resident said he’s grateful to the nurses. He said veterans today are treated differently than when he was in the military.

“I was once denied a meal at the Logan Airport Restaurant in 1978 while wearing my uniform,” he said. “At Christmas, my son came to visit from the Air Force. We were at the Country Hound (in Englewood) eating breakfast. He was in uniform. It was like sitting with Frank Sinatra. Someone bought not just my son’s meal, but my meal. It was really nice.”

Kelly McCoubrey, one of Bill’s friends, thanked him for helping at the hospital.

“(You are) Definitely a hero,” she wrote on Facebook. “Many of my colleagues get assaulted on the job. It’s downright scary sometimes.”

Email: elaine.allen@yoursun.com

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