Day of Heroes at Hempstead Town Hall: Santino Presents ‘Keys to the Town’ to First Responders Who Made Life-Saving Water Rescues

Hempstead Town Supervisor Anthony J. Santino, Councilwoman Erin King Sweeney and Councilman Anthony D’Esposito welcomed a group of courageous first responders for a special “Day of Heroes” at today’s Hempstead Town Board meeting. Santino presented heroes from two distinct groups with special “Keys to the Town” in recognition of heroic water rescues which saved the lives of several individuals.

The honorees included Town of Hempstead Bay Constables Greg McDonald and Orazio Taddeo, Nassau County Police Officers Jamal Ramos, Anthony Albanese, Paul Maywald and Ahmad Kessba, the Island Park Fire Department’s 1st Assistant Chief James Miotto, 2nd Assistant Chief Michael Whalen, Ex-Captain Donny Cardineau, Ex-Captain Margarita Rodriguez, Ex-Captain Russell Waters, Dr. Alan Greenfield, Captain Anthony Ciccimarro, Firefighter William Whaley, Firefighter Ronald Nurnberger, Jr., Firefighter Jenna Thilman, Firefighter Louis Quilca and Inwood Fire Department’s 1st Assistant Chief Anthony Rivelli, Jr.

“Today we are proving the adage that heroes are often ordinary people who do extraordinary things under extraordinary circumstances,” Santino said. “We are recognizing police officers and other first responders who put thoughts of their own safety aside to save the lives of others.”

“Thank you to these heroes and to all of our first responders for protecting our families and keeping our communities and waterways safe,” King Sweeney said. “These brave first responders put their lives on the line for us every day, and these life-saving rescues demonstrate how they go above and beyond the call of duty,” D’Esposito added.

In the span of 50 hours, starting on April 7th, Town of Hempstead Bay Constables Greg McDonald of Wantagh and Orazio Taddeo of Oceanside rescued 5 people from the dangerous waters of Jones Inlet. In the face of extreme weather conditions – driving rains, high winds, heavy surf, and near-freezing air temperatures – McDonald and Taddeo managed to rescue three persons trapped on a damaged vessel that had been taking on water and then saved the lives of two men stranded on an inflatable boat.

A couple of weeks later, the quick actions of a group of Nassau County police officers and firefighters from the Island Park and Inwood Fire Departments saved the lives of two individuals who were inside a vehicle submerged in the waters of Broad Channel. When the police officers arrived, the car was in 6 feet of water, about 50 feet from the bulkhead. The driver escaped and was on top of the car, while the passenger remained trapped inside the car when police arrived. With a ladder and a group of firefighters, they were able to keep the passenger safe until a diver with training in water rescue got the trapped victim out of the car and transported him to shore.

“The quick and sure responses of these heroes are exactly the type of actions for which we created the key to Hempstead Town,” Santino said. “Thank you to these brave men and women and to all first responders for their service to our residents.”