Remember this video clip? It went worldwide as a sign of hope for the rescue mission in Haiti after the January 12, 2010 7.0 magnitude earthquake. Owen H. Johnson presented Liberty Medals to four members of the New York Task Force 1 elite rescue team for their selfless and courageous acts of heroism during their mission in Haiti. The video clip portrays them pulling "Kiki" from the rubble.
Photo left to right: Joseph Downey, Owen H. Johnson, Thomas Donnelly, William Reddan, and Richard Andersen
Senator Owen H. Johnson presented New York State Liberty Medals to four members of New York Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue Team for their outstanding efforts conducted in Port au Prince, Haiti between January 15th and January 25, 2010. The four were among a team of 80 deployed to Haiti following the devastating earthquake which struck January 12th.
The Award Ceremony took place at the Deer Park Fire Department on Thursday, March 4, 2010. Those honored were Richard Andersen of Bohemia, Detective, NYPD Emergency Services Unit and Rescue Specialist, New York Task Force 1; Thomas Donnelly of Deer Park, Lieutenant, FDNY Rescue Company 1 and Search Team Manager, New York Task Force 1; Joseph Downey of West Islip, Battalion Chief, FDNY Rescue Battalion and Task Force Leader, New York Task Force 1; and William Reddan of Sayville, Lieutenant, FDNY Squad 252 and Technical Information Specialist, New York Task Force 1.
“I am very proud to honor Richard Andersen, Tom Donnelly, Joe Downey, and Bill Reddan with the Liberty Award. They, undoubtedly, are heroes in my eyes and deserve our praise,” Senator Johnson said. “Each left their families and the comfort of home to risk their lives to help others. Through their selfless and courageous efforts, 6 earthquake victims were brought to safety.” Among them, a 7 year old boy named Kiki and his 10 year old sister, portrayed worldwide in news images of the rescue. (Image attached.)
“When I read newspaper accounts and watched television coverage of New York Task Force 1’s deployment to Haiti and their subsequent rescue operations, I knew that these men truly deserved the recognition we give them tonight,” Senator Johnson added.
Senator Johnson also spoke of Joseph Downey’s father, the late Deputy Chief Ray Downey, longtime resident of the Hamlet of Deer Park and former Chief of Rescue Operations for the New York City Fire Department. He tragically perished with ninety of his men on September 11, 2001 when the World Trade Center was attacked. “I know that he would be extremely proud to know that his son, Joe, is successfully carrying on the family tradition of selfless sacrifice to help others in need.”
The New York State Liberty Award was created in 2000 and is one of the highest civilian honors that a New York resident can receive. It is awarded by the New York State Senate to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of fellow New Yorkers.
Senator Owen H. Johnson cosponsored a Legislative Resolution commending Yonkers Firefighter Michael Giroux from Deer Park for his recent heroic action in saving the lives of two citizens. Michael was at the Capitol for the reading of the Resolution during the March 23, 2011 Senate Session. “I would like to add my congratulations and express my pride in the accomplishments of Michael Giroux and the team of Yonkers Firefighters,” Senator Johnson said as he spoke on the resolution in the Senate Chamber. “The initiative Michael took showed not only intelligence but bravery and courage. It’s a wonderfully inspiring story of heroism and rescue.”
Senator Owen H. Johnson cosponsored a Legislative Resolution commending Yonkers Firefighter Michael Giroux from Deer Park for his recent heroic action in saving the lives of two citizens. Michael was at the Capitol for the reading of the Resolution during the March 23, 2011 Senate Session.
Senator Owen H. Johnson presented a New York Senate Proclamation to Fair Harbor Fire Chief Scott Cherveney to commemorate the 80th Anniversary of the Fair Harbor Fire District and to honor the past and present firefighting members for 80 years of fire protection to the citizens of Fair Harbor and its surrounding communities. The presentation took place at the Officers’ Installation Dinner Dance at The Snapper Inn in Oakdale on Saturday, October 1, 2011.
Fair Harbor Fire District was established in 1931 and is responsible for providing fire and EMS protection in Fair Harbor. Dunewood and Lonelyville have their own Fire Districts which contribute to the Fair Harbor Fire District in return for fire and EMS protection service.
The Fair Harbor Fire District covers a three square mile response area, serving a summer population of 2,500 and includes 600 private homes, three businesses, three docks and one mile of shoreline. The district firehouse is located in the center of the Fair Harbor commercial district and houses its 14 emergency response vehicles.
Senator Owen H. Johnson joined with members of the Deer Park Fire District at a surprise retirement celebration for both Eileen Grubert, District Secretary and Manager, and Alex “Buddy” Gillespie, District Treasurer. Both have dedicated 35 years to the Deer Park Fire District and were presented with Citations by Senator Johnson for their profound dedication.
Eileen Grubert, as District Secretary and Manager, has been an integral part of managing the day to day operations of the Deer Park Fire District allowing the fire fighters to concentrate on their task of protecting the Deer Park residents from fire.
Legislation Also Passed that Allows Volunteer Firefighters to be Absent from Work During States of Emergency The New York State Senate today passed a bill (S.7458), sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Dean G. Skelos (R, Rockville Centre) that would ensure the names of firefighters who are killed while performing services in the line of duty be included on the New York State Fallen Firefighters Memorial.