Sen. Fuschillo Awards Liberty Medal To Bellmore Couple For Heroic Rescue

Charles J. Fuschillo Jr.

March 10, 2008

Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo (right) and Assemblyman McDonough (left) honor Bellmore residents Steven Berger (second left) and Diane Etri (second right) for rescuing three young men from the frigid canal behind their home.

State Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) and Assemblyman Dave McDonough (19th Assembly District) recently visited the home of Bellmore residents Steven Berger and Diane Etri to award the New York State Senate Liberty Medal in honor of their rescue of 3 college students from the frigid canal behind their home.

“Quick thinking, cool heads, and teamwork helped Steven and Diane save three lives and spare three families from enduring a tragedy. This is an amazing story that, thanks to Steven and Diane, has a happy ending. I am proud to honor these local heroes,” said Senator Fuschillo.

Steven and Diane saved the lives of Stony Brook University students Stas Gulevskiy, Erzen Gashi, and Dan Carvalho, who were rowing down the canal in a small rowboat when it began taking on water and started to sink at approximately 2 a.m. on the morning of February 24th.

The couple was awakened by their barking dogs and then heard the boys screams for help. While Diane called 911, Steven ran outside, in his pajamas without shoes, and used a long electrical extension cord he found in his garage to throw to the boys and pull them out of the water onto the shore. Steven and Diane then brought the 3 boys into their home to warm up while they waited for the paramedics, who arrived shortly thereafter.

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is one of the highest civilian honors that a New Yorker can receive. Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the award is given to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers. TO SEND AN EMAIL TO SENATOR FUSCHILLO, PLEASE CLICK HERE.