Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (R-Merrick) today presented the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to Lindenhurst resident Vincent Sottile, who heroically pulled a woman from a burning car on Interstate 95. Mr. Sottile has served as a volunteer in the Lindenhurst Fire Department for the last 20 years.
“Bravery, selflessness, and good training helped Mr. Sottile save a life and avert a tragedy. Like all firefighters, he was ready to answer the call and willing to put himself in harm’s way to protect someone else. He is a true hero who the entire community should be proud of, and I am pleased to recognize his selfless actions,” said Senator Fuschillo.
Mr. Sottile, who is also an FDNY firefighter, was driving home from Connecticut with his wife along I-95 in December when he spotted two men trying to pull a woman out of a burning car. He pulled over, threw on his turnout coat and gloves, and ran across the median to help. Since he fortunately had his protective gear, he was able to get his hands into the burning car and pull the woman, who was unconscious and pinned under the steering wheel, to safety. He then helped check the woman for injuries, put up flares to block traffic on the highway, and even helped local fire departments extinguish the blaze.
Created in 2000, 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.
Senator Fuschillo (right) is pictured as he presents the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to Vincent Sottile (second right). They are joined by Mr. Sottile’s wife, Joanne (right center) and his sisters, Marion Gigante (left), Carol Gilroy (second left), and Janice Castaldy (left center).