2002-04-06 / Community

Chamber To Honor ‘Bravest And Finest’

Chamber To Honor ‘Bravest And Finest’

Representatives from the Mayor’s Office, Fire and Police Commissioners’ Offices, and elected officials will join the Chamber of Commerce of the Rockaways in proudly honoring 14 heroes from the New York City Fire Department, EMS, and the New York City Police Department who have gone well beyond their call of duty to serve the Rockaways during the past year. The honorees were selected by their respective superiors based upon their acts of heroism and/or dedication to their jobs, our residents and our community.

Police Officers Hector Tello and Christine Weisenauer have been named to receive this year’s honors by Captain Charles Talamo, Commanding Officer of the 100 Precinct.

Hector Tello, who officially retired from the NYPD last month, became a police officer in January, 1982. After serving four years in the Marine Corps., he worked numerous assignments: sector patrol, community policing, and summer detail plainclothes, plainclothes anti-crime patrol, bias, youth, auto, condition team, robbery and grand larceny auto, burglary auto, and print technician during the early years of his career at the department. After 12 years, he became the Community Affairs Officer of the 100 Precinct. Officer Tello was invaluable to the community in helping to start various neighborhood and youth programs, and by assisting numerous civic groups in solving their day-to-day problems. His job description had no boundaries and Officer Tello made his position a way of life. He established the very successful 100 Precinct Interscholastic Olympics, which annually involves up to 600 children from schools in Rockaway. Each year, with the help of the 100 Precinct community Council, Officer Tello coordinated the event from start to finish. Officer Tello was always the first to arrive and last to leave at community events throughout the peninsula, including National Night Out Against Crime, precinct sponsored Christmas and holiday parties, street closings, and family fun fairs, just to mention a few. During his 19 years at the 100 Precinct he received more than 25 Letters of Recognition from the NYPD, six civilian commendations, and departmental citations. His dedication to the entire Rockaway community is what makes Hector Tello a prime candidate for the honor of being named one of Rockaway’s "Bravest and Finest".

Christine Weisenauer was appointed to the police department on April 30, 1991 and was later assigned to the 100 Precinct after graduating from the police academy. Officer Weisenauer spent much of her career working the midnight shift before becoming the 100 Precinct Domestic Violence Officer, approximately two years ago. On September 30, 2001, while assigned to Station House Security, a woman who stated she had been robbed approached Officer Weisenauer. The victim further stated that she had been stabbed in the abdomen and was bleeding heavily. Officer Weisenauer received a description of the perpetrator from the victim and immediately called for an ambulance and notified central for the perp’s description. The victim stated that the perps were last seen near Rockaway Freeway and Beach 95 Street. Officer Weisenauer proceeded on foot in that direction and soon came upon two people that fit the description given by the victim. Officer Weisenauer placed both under arrest and recovered the complaint’s property, along with the knife that was used to stab the victim. The two perps were charged with attempted murder and robbery in the first degree. Police Officer Weisenauer displayed exemplary bravery by setting out on foot by herself to pursue and apprehend these perpetrators who were armed and dangerous.

Police Officers Carl Robinson and Michael McCabe have been named to receive this year’s honors by Captain Kenneth Lindahl, Commanding Officer of the 101 Precinct.

On Monday, October 15, 2001, at approximately 1925 hours, Michael Evans, along with his brother Eugene Evans, were driving a 1993 Green Dodge Neon with New York State registration. They parked their vehicle at the bus stop located at Beach 56 Street and Beach Channel Drive where Mr. Richard Griffin was standing. The two brothers had been involved in an on-going dispute with Mr. Griffin in regards to a dice game that had occurred on the previous Friday night, October 12, 2001. Mr. Griffin approached the passenger side of the auto that the brothers were sitting in and a verbal argument took place with Mr. Griffin striking Eugene Evans with an unknown object causing a sever laceration to his forehead. Mr. Griffin fled towards 54-30 Beach Channel Drive. Michael and Eugene Evans exited their vehicle and began to chase Mr. Griffin. Michael Evans exited his vehicle with a sawed off rifle. Officers McCabe and Robinson, who were performing tenant patrol at 439 Beach 54 Street, heard several shots, and subsequently exited the building and observed Michael Evans in front of 54-30 Beach Channel Drive. He was holding what appeared to be a rifle and firing a handgun in the direction of responding officers on Beach Channel Drive. When the officers ordered Michael Evans to drop his weapons, he turned towards the officers, firing two rounds at them from the handgun. Officer McCabe then saw Michael Evans hand something to another unidentified man who was standing nearby. Michael Evans moved into the doorway of 54-30 Beach Channel Drive and the officers lost sight of him for a few seconds. Mr. Evans then re-appeared, and exited the doorway of 54-30 Beach Channel Drive making a left turn, jumping over a small fence, and quickly advancing along the building line with his back toward the officers. His arms and hands were concealed from the officer’s sight. The officers continually made verbal demands to see Mr. Evan’s hands, with Mr. Evans refusing to comply while advancing toward the officers. Mr. Evans was approximately four feet from the north end of the building, when he quickly turned towards the officers with his hands in front of him. Officer Robinson fired three rounds, striking Mr. Evans once in the right forearm. Officer Robinson was approximately 30 to 40 feet away from Mr. Evans when he discharged his firearm. Mr. Evans stumbled towards the side of the building and fell to the ground. Officers Robinson and McCabe both displayed outstanding bravery, above and beyond the call of duty and have been rightfully named this year’s "Bravest and Finest" honorees from the 101 Precinct.

Battalion 47 Chief Michael McGrath has selected five firefighters to receive this year’s Chamber designation. Honorees, Fire Lieutenants William Gallagher and Frederick G. Atkin, and firefighters William Quick, Glen A. Ott, and Gerard Ferrin have all been chosen as this year’s honorees because of their bravery and extraordinary heroism displayed in the line of duty.

Lt. William Gallagher of Ladder 137 was the first officer on the scene of the plane crash in Rockaway on November 12. He was in command until relieved by the Chief of Battalion 47. His great knowledge and ability to stay calm was one reason that the operation was so successful. During the holiday season, Lt. Gallagher’s thoughts were on the families of the victims of the 9-11 tragedy, and the plane crash in Belle Harbor. Seventeen members of the FDNY from the Rockaways gave the supreme sacrifice that tragic day in September. Lt. Gallagher spent his off duty time tirelessly putting together holiday gift baskets for these families. The baskets included a complete turkey dinner, and numerous gift certificates from the generous business owners of Rockaway. Lt. Gallagher made Christmas a little brighter for these families. Lt. Gallagher is truly one of NYFD’s "Bravest and Finest".

This year Engine 328’s nominee for the Rockaway Bravest luncheon is Lt. Frederick G. Atkin. Lt. Atkin has served in the NYC Fire Department for 29 years, ten of which were in Far Rockaway. He has been cited for bravery on numerous occasions and was unanimously chosen to receive this year’s "Bravest and Finest" designation.

Firefighter William Quick is a highly decorated member of the New York City Fire Department. He has proven his extraordinary bravery on many occasions. He is a seasoned veteran with a vast amount of training, firefighting knowledge and skills. Firefighter Quick has served more than 21 years in the fire department, making this department better because of men like him. He is a former member of the elite Rescue Company 4, and a current member of Ladder Company 134, located on Central Avenue in Far Rockaway. Firefighter Quick has received many medals and citations throughout his career for saving lives and performing his duty to the highest level and to the highest ability that one could possibly expect from a firefighter. As New Yorkers, we all know how brave our Bravest really are, and Firefighter William Quick is a perfect example of a true leader of the Bravest in every form of the word.

Firefighter Glen A. Ott is a veteran firefighter with more than 19 years of dedicated service to Rockaway. He is a resident of Broad Channel, and takes great pride in being able to serve and protect his neighbors, many of whom he has known all of his life. FF Ott’s skill as a firefighter and his dedication to protecting his friends and neighbors was surely put to the test on November 12, 2002. This was the day of the tragic crash of American Airlines Flight 587 into the Belle Harbor neighborhood of Rockaway. He was but one of many firefighters who performed heroically that day. However, FF Ott, as Engine 266’s nozzleman was a major factor in controlling, confining, and extinguishing the conflagration that threatened the entire Belle Harbor community. As a seasoned firefighter, FF Ott, without hesitation, aggressively attacked this wall of fire quickly knocking down the peripheral fires and advancing towards the main seat of the fire. Though assisted bravely by others, it was FF Ott’s knowledge and unfaltering, aggressive attack, which continued well beyond the normal operating endurance of the most that led the way. He lives, works, and plays in the Rockaways. These are just some of the reasons that make FF Glen A. Ott a deserving candidate to be honored at this year’s "Bravest and Finest" awards luncheon.

Engine 266 has designated Firefighter Gerard Ferrin as this year’s honoree for the "Bravest and Finest". FF Ferrin is a veteran firefighter with more than 17 years of dedicated service in the Rockaways. On September 29, 2001, Engine 266 responded to Shoefront Parkway and Beach 96th Street for a person in the water drowning. Using binoculars, the victim was spotted 300 to 400 yards off shore and drifting further out to sea. Without hesitation FF Ferrin grabbed the lifesaving flotation torpedo, and entered the six foot high, pounding surf. He relentlessly fought the crashing waves and strong currents to reach the victim. Finding the victim entangled in ropes from a kite surfing device, FF Ferrin had to untangle the victim while keeping him afloat, and not becoming ensnared himself. Finally, nearly exhausted, FF Ferrin managed to bring the victim to shore where EMS treated him. Though assisted by other members of Engine Company 266, it was FF Ferrin’s courageous and unhesitating actions that save this man’s life, and it is the reason that he has been chosen as one of this year’s "Bravest and Finest."

The Commanding Officer of Transit District 23 of the NYPD, Captain Brendan Keeney, has named Sergeant Kevin D. McVeigh, and Detective Specialist Thomas Speed as Transit 23’s "top cops" this year.

Sergeant McVeigh’s selection was based on a heroic act in which he sustained an injury while preventing two police officers from sustaining serious physical injuries. This incident occurred on January 10, 2001.

Detective Specialist Thomas Speed was chosen for his dedication and outstanding work during 2001 and his outstanding accomplishments in his personal life.

On Wednesday, 10, 2001 at approximately 1420 hours, Sergeant McVeigh was on patrol assigned as the patrol supervisor in the confines of Transit District 23. Sergeant McVeigh was alerted by the radio dispatcher of a 10-13, an emergency call of an officer needing assistance at the Wavecrest subway station. Sgt. McVeigh arrived on the scene in less than a minute to find two officers wrestling with a violent emotionally disturbed person. While assisting the officers, Sgt. McVeigh sustained a human bite wound to his left inner thigh from the perpetrator. The severe laceration to his left thigh subsequently put Sgt. McVeigh in the hospital for five days and out of work for two months. Sgt. McVeigh placed himself in grave personal danger to aid other officers. His quick actions prevented the other officers, the perpetrator and civilians present from serious injury.

Detective Specialist Thomas Speed is a 17-year veteran of the New York City Police Department assigned to Transit District 23. The year 2001 was a very enduring year for Detective Speed. In May, 2001, Detective Speed was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes and lung cancer. Several large inoperable tumors were discovered in his lungs. Although he faced an overwhelming life threatening disease, Detective Speed continued to work in a full duty capacity until such time that it became medically impossible. During this time, in addition to working full duty he also organized the District’s Annual Fishing Trip. During this time only his partner was aware of his condition. Detective Speed is married and a father of two daughters. Throughout his ordeal, he never lost his determination to overcome the obstacles in front of him.

On June 5, 2001, Detective Speed was placed on sick leave to undergo an intensive course of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. He returned to work in January 2002. After a brief limited duty assignment he was restored to full duty status. Once again, Detective Speed rose to the challenge. Since his return, he has outperformed his coworkers, enforcing the law and providing service to the community. In summary, Detective Speed is an amiable individual who displays a professional demeanor and interacts well with the community, his peers and supervisors. He embodies the Police Department’s values of Courtesy, Professionalism and Respect.

Rockaway Station EMS Battalion 47 has designated Paramedic William Moore, Lieutenant David Burke, and EMT John Mayrose as this year’s "Bravest and Finest" honorees.

On April 28, 2001, a 911 assignment was dispatched to EMS Units 47B3 and 47W3 (Emergency Medical Technicians John Mayrose and William Ludwig, and Paramedics William Moore and David Burke) for a Cardiac Arrest at Beach 169 Street and Breezy Point Boulevard.

Upon arrival, EMS Lieutenant Peter Mirando and NYPD Harbor met the crews. NYPD Harbor advised EMS that the patient was on a cruise ship approximately 9 miles offshore and was reportedly in Cardiac Arrest. Under direction of Lieutenant Mirando, both crews boarded the NYPD Harbor unit with all their required equipment and proceeded aboard the Police boat to the ship.

During the approximate 30-minute ride, NYPD personnel advised the two EMS crews how they would board the ship when they arrived. It was explained that the ship was still traveling at approximately 5-6 knots (known as six to eight miles per hour) and would not be able to stop for this operation. The police boat would pull along side the ship traveling at the same speed. A cargo door would open that was about 20 feet above the police boat. The cruise ship would lower a Jacob’s ladder (essentially a flexible rope ladder) from the cargo bay and both crews would need to climb up the ladder with their equipment. This was accomplished without regard for their personal safety and without any formal training. Once on the ship, they evaluated the patient whom was not in cardiac arrest, but suffering from a cardiac incident. The crews started their protocols by evaluating vital signs, administering oxygen, beginning an IV and monitoring the patients EKG. A medical history was ascertained along with treatment already rendered by the ships on board physician. The crew further treated the patient in accordance with their protocols and the patient’s chest pain had now subsided. They then prepared him for transportation.

NYPD Emergency Services Officers, already on board the ship, advised the crews that they would secure onto a stokes stretcher and hoist the patient up by a cable some 70 feet to a NYPD rescue helicopter from the rear end of the ship. Prior to doing that, one of the paramedics would be harnessed and hoisted by the cable to the helicopter. He would need his equipment to monitor and further treat him during the trip to the hospital. Paramedic William Moore was given this task. Paramedic Moore and the patient were then both individually lifted the approximate 70 feet to the helicopter. Now remember that this cruise ship was still traveling at approximately six to eight miles per hour during this evacuation.

Safely on board the NYPD rescue helicopter, the patient was removed to Jersey Shore Medical Center for further evaluation and treatment while Paramedic Moore monitored his status. Paramedic Moore was flown back to NYPD Aviation Base in Brooklyn where he was reunited with his partner. The three remaining members, Paramedic Burke and EMTs Mayrose and Ludwig, then had to descend down to 20 feet from the cargo bay to the NYPD boat using the same Jacobs ladder that they had climbed aboard with. This was done again while still traveling at six to eight miles per hour. Their jobs were completed. NYPD Harbor returned the remaining EMS members back to land without incident where they resumed answering 911 calls in the Rockaways. In the interest of patient care, these members, without regard for their own safety and without any prior training, performed a heroic ask. These men went above and beyond the call of duty. Their bravery and courageous acts of heroism are why they have been chosen as this year’s "Bravest and Finest" honorees from EMS Battalion #47.

In light of the tragic events of September 11th and November 12th, the Chamber of Commerce this year have extended an invitation to the brave men and women who serve in the various volunteer emergency service organizations that service the Rockaway community. The Chamber realizes that the volunteers who give of their time throughout the year are often overlooked. However, this year, each volunteer service entity will be presented with a special award of appreciation from the Chamber of Commerce, which is designed to be displayed in their quarters for all of their members to enjoy. The Chamber, along with the rest of the Rockaway community, considers our volunteers among the many "heroes" that will be honored as this year’s "Bravest and Finest."

All of these "heroes" will take center stage at the Chamber of Commerce’s Bravest and Finest Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 11, at Russo’s On The Bay, Howard Beach, at 12:30 p.m. Allstate Insurance is the corporate sponsor for this special event and Allstate representatives will also be on hand. An American Airlines Executive representative will also be present to present American Airlines’ Awards of Appreciation.

Admission will be charged. Reservations are necessary and can be made by contacting the Chamber of Commerce at 718-634-1300 as soon as possible. This year’s event is sure to be a sell out. Early reservations are encouraged for those who don’t want to miss out on this special day. Please join us in saying, "Thank you," to these honorees who have risked their lives to save ours, and who give of themselves each day to serve our peninsula so well.


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