Photo caption: Senator Fuschillo (right) presents the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to James Kiesling of Lindenhurst for his efforts to save lives in Haiti.They are joined by (l-r) Mr. Kiesling’s fiancée Gayl Freeman, his mother Grace Kiesling, and his sister, Patricia Hantsis.
Lindenhurst resident James Kiesling today received the New York State Senate Liberty Medal from Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) for his efforts to save lives in Haiti following the devastating earthquake there earlier this year.
Mr. Kiesling, a member of the FDNY, is part of New York Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue Team which conducted search and rescue operations in Haiti following the earthquake. As a member of the team, Mr. Kiesling spent ten days in Port au Prince trying to locate and rescue victims who were trapped under rubble from collapsed buildings. Several individuals were saved and brought to safety as a result of the team’s efforts.
“It takes a special kind of person to voluntarily leave the safety and comfort of home, go to the scene of an unimaginable disaster, and risk his own safety to help others, and that’s exactly what James Kiesling is. His efforts, along with those of the other members of the team, resulted in lives being saved. He is a true hero who is most deserving of this honor. I am pleased to thank him for his efforts,” said Senator Fuschillo.
The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is one of the highest civilian honors that a New York resident can receive. It is awarded to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements.