Scottsdale firefighter reunites with man he saved, meets man's son

Posted: Updated:
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver
By Christina O'Haver By Christina O'Haver

PHOENIX -- It was a moment 21 years in the making. Scottsdale firefighter Jim Dooley met his namesake, Duelli Tamburelli, on the boy's first birthday.

"I feel honored that he named his child after me. It's amazing," Jim Dooley said.

More than two decades ago as a new paramedic, Jim Dooley saved the life of baby Duelli's father while off duty. Brian Tamburelli had fallen off a cliff in the high country, and his mom was waving for help on the side of the road.

"She was frantic, running around by the road, and my wife said, 'Pull over. See if you can help,' " Jim Dooley recalled.

He hiked down the mountain in flip flops to rescue Brian Tamburelli.

"You had so many broken bones. I was overwhelmed," Jim Dooley said. "When they flew you away, I figured, 'He's probably not going to make it.' "

But Brian Tamburelli made a full recovery and decided to name his second son after the firefighter who saved his life.

"It's making this day one of the happier days of our lives to have him actually be here and get to meet my son," Brian Tamburelli said.

The reunion came about when a fellow Scottsdale firefighter met the Tamburellis at an Arizona State University football game and made the connection between his coworker and baby Duelli.

Jim Dooley plans on attending all of Duelli Tamburelli's birthday parties.

"It's an honor," he said. "You know, the right time, the right place that I showed up."