Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) today presented the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to five individuals, including four Saratoga County Department of Public Works (DPW) employees, who recently saved a Mayfield snowmobiler from drowning on the Great Sacandaga Lake.
The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is the state Senate’s highest honor and is passed by resolution to be given to those who have shown tremendous valor and courage or have made an extraordinary difference in the lives of New Yorkers.
On January 31st, Jeff Gray, who was home sick, spotted Ed Fitzgerald of Mayfield on his snowmobile heading for the Conklingville Dam. Gray knew something was wrong when Fitzgerald’s snowmobile did not swing back around. After walking outside to assess the situation, Gray and his wife spotted their neighbor Jerry McGraw attempting to throw a rope to Fitzgerald. Gray made his way to the scene and located a neighbor’s boat. During this time, Gray’s fellow Saratoga County DPW co-workers Robert Crist, Preston Allen Jr., and Aaron Colvin arrived after hearing the distress call.
Without hesitation or regard for their own safety, Allen began breaking up the ice with his bare hands, while Crist used a two-by-four he found on the shore as an oar to paddle out to Fitzgerald. The others remained on shore holding a rope tied to the boat. Allen then pulled Fitzgerald from the ice-cold water after being submerged for about 30-40 minutes. Fitzgerald was rushed to the hospital and released the next day.
“Not all superheroes wear capes! Some are dedicated DPW workers and caring neighbors who leaped to action, putting their own personal safety at risk to save the life of another. Saratoga County DPW workers Preston Allen, Jr., Aaron Colvin, Robert Crist, and Jeff Gray and neighbor Jerry McGraw are real superheroes who demonstrated their compassion and valor in their courageous efforts to save the life of snowmobiler Ed Fitzgerald who was drowning in the Great Sacandaga Lake. I often say, all good things emanate from the 49th Senate District, and these fine individuals exemplify that and are truly positive role models for all to emulate,” said Senator Jim Tedisco.