Heroic Wilton police officer in fight for his life

Police officers face all kinds of dangers, but now one of Wilton’s own is facing a life-and-death battle with cancer and his fellow officers have rallied to help him in his time of need. They are inviting the community to do so as well.

Sgt. Thomas Tunney, known to many as TJ, is a highly decorated officer who has worked to protect the Wilton community for 31 years.

To assist Tunney with his financial obligations due to his illness, the Wilton Police Benevolent Association has set up a special fund. Anyone wishing to donate may mail or bring a check to the Wilton Police Department, 240 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897. All checks should be made out to Wilton PBA with a notation of “TJ” in the memo section.

The Wilton PBA will also host a fundraiser to benefit Tunney on Thursday, Jan. 7, 6 to 10 p.m., at the Ponus Yacht Club in Stamford.

“All donations raised will go to support TJ and to pay any expenses he or his sister have due to his illness, and/or donated to a fund of his choosing,” a press release said.

Tickets are $40 and may be purchased at police headquarters or by calling Sgt. David Hartman at 203-834-6260 or emailing david.hartman@wiltonct.org.
Heroic actions
Tunney was named Officer of the Year in 2013, and received the New England Chiefs of Police Medal of Valor award in 2013 as well as the American Red Cross Community Hero Award. He has also been frequently honored at the police department’s annual awards ceremony for service above and beyond the normal call of duty.

Tunney was named officer of the year and received the medal of valor and hero award for his efforts following a car accident on Hurlbutt Street in October 2012. He was the first to arrive, finding a Norwalk man’s car in flames after it had crashed into the woods.

"When I got down to him, he was still in the car. The car was completely engulfed," Tunney told The Bulletin the next day, adding "the heat pushed me back.

"I tried to grab him but it flamed back over again." At that point, something hit him in the face, although he said he is not sure what. While he was trying to help the driver, fellow officers were helping to keep some of the flames at bay with fire extinguishers.

"I tried again, but he was still hung up," he said, referring to the driver. "The third time I pulled him forward and out of the car."

The Wilton Fire Department awarded Tunney a special commendation for his heroic efforts that day.

He was also one of three officers to help deliver a baby at a Splash Car Wash in 2008. They subsequently received the American Red Cross Law Enforcement Award for saving the baby from strangulation.