It was a busy, groundbreaking, and inspiring year at Lincoln Center. Our stages have never been so productive and our programming was more diverse than ever. The world-class performances were not limited to the stage, however: Exceptional talent also made its mark behind the scenes. Throughout the year, Lincoln Center's staff members help our audiences make the most of their visits to our campus. You won't see their names on the marquee, but the show would not go on without them. And in some cases, they are literally life-savers.

This past April, opera patron George Berger was walking from his car to the Metropolitan Opera for an evening performance of The Abduction from the Seraglio when—suddenly—he collapsed. Members of the Lincoln Center security team, Chief Officer Elrige Shelton and Sergeant Jermaine McLean, immediately rushed to his aide, performing CPR and using a defibrillator. Within minutes, additional security staff, Lieutenant Robert Jordan, Sergeant Jason Jimenez, and Michael Rubino, called an ambulance and contacted Mr. Berger's family. He fell into a coma, but awoke after five weeks and has since recovered.

Mr. Berger wanted to publicly thank his rescuers, and in September he returned to Lincoln Center to meet the security team at a celebratory press conference.

Standing with the officers who saved him, Mr. Berger addressed reporters. "I don’t remember any of it. But whatever they did, they did a good job, because I'm here, I'm going to the opera tonight, and I'm sure I'm going to go to the opera again in the future. And without their help, it just would not have been possible."

Members of the security team spoke as well, pledging their support for Lincoln Center and its patrons. "I'm glad to see Mr. Berger around," said Chief Officer Shelton. "We wouldn't be able to assist him without the training we receive all year-round, and we would do it again for any patron or anybody who's in need."

Susan Bick, Lincoln Center's Senior Director of Security, told Mr. Berger about the compassion and concern the officers displayed even after the incident. "When you were in the hospital, each one of these guards asked me every day, did I hear anything? Did I know what was going on?"

Our officers went above and beyond to save Mr. Berger's life, and we can't thank them enough!

See the press conference on Facebook.


A member of Lincoln Center's editorial team, Gabe Mizrachi is a pianist, violinist, and guitarist who recently graduated from Bates College with a degree in music composition.