2005-06-10 / Community

Rockaway Residents Honored At FDNY Medal Ceremony

By Brendan Brosh


  • Four Rockaway residents who are firefighters in other parts of the city received awards for heroism at the New York City Fire Department’s (FDNY) Medal Day 2005 last week at MetroTech Center in Brooklyn. The Medal Ceremony is an annual event that honors the individual heroism and bravery of FDNY members. Among this year’s honorees were four Rockaway residents: Brian Sullivan, Brian Becker, Justin Werner and Peter Frontera.
  • Firefighter Brian T. Sullivan of Ladder Company 173 was awarded the Edith Goldman Medal. While off-duty and riding his bicycle on the boardwalk and Beach 123 Street on September 16, 2004, Sullivan heard shouts from the beach.

    CAPT. JUSTIN C. WERNER               CAPT. PETER J. FONTERA CAPT. JUSTIN C. WERNER CAPT. PETER J. FONTERA He spotted three teenagers in distress between 50 and 125 yards offshore. The teenagers were struggling to stay afloat in the extremely rough conditions as Hurricane Ivan was approaching the northeast.

    Sullivan swam out to rescue Luke Kelvin, who was approximately 50 yards out and brought him to shore. Then, with the assistance of former lifeguard Kristin Bledsoe and two members of the responding Ladder Company 137, Sullivan brought Jason Xia and the unconscious Aaron Chung to shore.

    Sullivan’s heroism appeared in front-page stories for The Wave and the Daily News. He holds a B.A. in Political Science and Business from St. John’s University.

    Captain Brian A. Becker of Division 13, assigned and Ladder Company 143 earned the Bella Stiefel Medal for his heroism saving two people on a cold January night on Liberty Avenue. Responding with his crew at 2:36 a.m. on January 3, 2004, Becker arrived at a three-building residence next to an elevated subway track. With the fire raging on the second floor, Becker and his company’s detail was to search for trapped occupants on the third floor.

    Discovering that the staircase to the second floor was destroyed by fire, Becker ordered a portable ladder so the team could descend to the second floor. Maneuvering through fire and stored household goods in the hallway, Becker made his way to a 49-year old unconscious man by crawling on his knees. Handing the man over to his team members, Becker retraced his steps and found 19-year-old Adrian Katwaro unconscious and in need of immediate medical attention. Becker lifted the young man onto his shoulder and carried him down the stairs and into the care of responding EMS personnel. Becker returned to the top floor for a third time and directed his company as they completed their tasks.

    Becker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Fordham University and lives with his wife, Petra and their three children, Thomas, Anna and William.

    Captain Justin C. Werner of Ladder Company 147 in Brooklyn earned the Company Officers Association Medal for his diligence in saving a senior citizen on Rugby Road in Brooklyn.

    Responding with his company to a call at 3:46 in the afternoon of October 9, 2004, Werner entered the first floor of the two and a half-story building with two firefighters. Encountering heavy smoke conditions, Werner was informed that a civilian was reported missing on the first floor. Moving to the left rear bedroom, Werner encountered heavy smoke and fire. He then found 78 year old Kisnasami Ramsami unconscious and not breathing. Pulling the senior citizen to safety, Werner reentered the building and continued his search. With barred windows and high heat conditions, the captain and Ramsami could have been trapped had it not been for his determination. The elderly man was hospitalized at Kings County Hospital in critical condition and stabilized more than a week later.

    Werner holds a Bachelors degree from LeMoyne College and lives with his wife, Ann-Marie, and children Justin, Annie, Sarah and Charlotte.

    Captain Peter J. Frontera of Ladder Company 113 in Brooklyn earned the Police Honor Legion Medal for his bravery in rescuing a man with severe burns and without a pulse.

    Frontera and his company responded to an emergency call at 3:30 in the morning on November 15, 2004 on Martenese Street in Brooklyn. There they found a two-story attached building with heavy fire and smoke billowing out of the windows. Forcing entry through the apartment’s heavy door, Frontera and his team gained access to the apartment. Crawling on his stomach, Frontera entered the front room with zero visibility, and high temperatures. During his primary search the captain found the unconscious body of Wentworth Robinson on a couch. Alerting his teammates, Frontera carried Robison out of the burning apartment and to the street. He had stopped breathing and suffered burns to his face and head. The captain went on to perform cardiac compressions until he was relieved by EMS attendees. Frontera reentered the building and continue his search.

    Robinson was transported to King County Hospital where he remained in critical condition for a week.

    Frontera lives with his wife, Peggy and sons James and Ryan, a proby firefighter at Engine 231.

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