2009-06-12 / Community

Local Firefighter Awarded On Medal Day

By Nicholas Briano

Battalion Chief Barry W. Brandes from Neponsit proudly stands with his family — Jack, 9, and Jennifer, 7, following the medal presentation from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Fire Commissioner Nicolas Scarpetta and Chief of Department Salvatore J. Cassano. Battalion Chief Barry W. Brandes from Neponsit proudly stands with his family — Jack, 9, and Jennifer, 7, following the medal presentation from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, Fire Commissioner Nicolas Scarpetta and Chief of Department Salvatore J. Cassano. Barry Brandes was the second Rockaway resident and firefighter to be honored at last week's New York City Fire Department Annual Medal Day, an event in which firefighters across the city are recognized for their bravery in the line of duty.

Battalion 41 Chief Barry W. Brandes was off duty on July 15, 2008 as he walked the beach near his Neponsit home when he spotted two surfers in the water about a block away.

He saw the two individuals in the water about 40 yards from the shore and he realized that they were in trouble. According to FDNY officials, he raced 100 yards from his location and dived into the surf fighting the strong current as he swam to the two surfers.

Brandes managed to reach the man and young woman. The man was able to swim back to shore on his own while the teenager was unable to do so. Brandes was able to bring back 17-year-old Vanessa Sahn to safety, although he had lost his grip and she was pulled under a few times during their lifesaving swim back to the shore. Brandes was awarded the Firefighter David J. De Franco Medal.

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