Heroes of Sandy and Life-Saving Rescues Among Honorees at Hempstead Town’s 2013 Firematic Award Ceremony

With the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy approaching, heartbreaking memories of devastation, tragedy and frustration are returning to the hearts and minds of those who experienced the wrath of the Superstorm. Amidst the destruction were tales of courage, chivalry and heroism, including the perseverance of a group of Island Park firefighters who fought through several feet of floodwaters and high wind gusts to rescue their neighbors from a fast-moving fire.

These brave men and women from the Island Park Fire Department were among 33 first responders honored by Supervisor Kate Murray and the Town Board during Hempstead Town’s annual Firematic Service Awards held at Town Hall. The 33 honorees represented 15 fire departments across America’s largest township.

Recipients were honored for various deeds, including life-saving rescues and acts of valor within the communities they serve.

“Heroes rise to the occasion, especially in times of adversity,” Murray said. “Tonight, we celebrated stories of heroism and benevolence, and expressed gratitude to the fine citizens that protect their neighbors each and every day.”

Other honorees include a chief of the East Meadow Fire Department who performed lifesaving CPR on a neighbor’s 10-month-old infant, and a member of the Point Lookout/Lido Fire Department whose quick actions saved a fellow firefighter.

The following 33 individuals were awarded the Town’s Firematic Medal for their distinguished service as members of the volunteer fire service community:


East Meadow Fire Department
Chief Walter P. Griffin, Jr.

East Rockaway Fire Department
Ex-Captain Patty Seifert

Floral Park Fire Department
Ex-Captain William Bedell, Jr.

Franklin Square and Munson Fire Dept.
Firefighter/EMT Justin Pons

Freeport Fire Department
Ex-Chief Julius Ellison

Island Park Fire Department
Former Captain Jason Cruz
1st Assistant Chief Anthony D’Esposito
Former Captain Chris Downs
Firefighter Joseph Garone
Firefighter Ryan Gaynor
Firefighter Sean Gaynor
Firefighter Thomas Gaynor
Firefighter Matt Graci
Captain James Miotto
Firefighter Karlton Nurnberger
Former Chief Ronald Nurnberger
Firefighter Michael Ostrander
Probationary Firefighter Marc Penetto
Firefighter Louis Quilca
Lieutenant Margaret Rodriguez
Captain James Sarro
Captain Kathryn Silliman
Firefighter Carlos Zapelli Jr.

Lakeview Fire Department
Ex-Chief Heather Senti

Levittown Fire Department
Captain Frank Cacioli
Firefighter Joseph DeSimone
Firefighter Nicholas Mouzakes

Lynbrook Fire Department
Honorary Chief William Myers

Mineola Fire Department
Ex-Chief and Warden Louis Santosus Jr.

Point Lookout/Lido Fire Department
Ex-Captain Steven Weitz

Rockville Centre Fire Department
Honorary Chief Thomas E. Cook

Seaford Fire Department
Ex-Chief Fred Roth

Westbury Fire Department
Ex-Chief Patrick Cody

Woodmere Fire Department
2nd Assistant Chief Benjamin J. Nelson