Two Hempstead Town Bay Constables were honored Tuesday for their quick action in saving the life of a man who fell into frigid waters while duck hunting near the Curtis E. Fisher West Marina in Point Lookout.
At a news conference, Hempstead Supervisor Don Clavin, along with other members of the Town Board, awarded Orazio Taddeo of Oceanside, and Salvatore Mastracchio of Long Beach, a Hometown Hero Award and Distinguished Service award.
“On behalf of all of us in the Town of Hempstead, all the board members and all the residents, we want to thank you for getting the job done,” Clavin said at the marina. “We’re lucky to have individuals, law enforcement and first responders like you.”
Taddeo said that around 2 p.m.on Sunday Bay Constables received a call about a kayaker in distress. The kayaker, who was duck hunting, fell into freezing cold water. The kayaker was able to call 911 before his cell phone died and alerted the authorities. After a quick search, the constables found the man visibly shaking and brought him on board. The constables loaded his kayak, secured his firearm and rushed him to the marina where EMS officers were waiting for him.
“When dealing with cold water, cold temperature, every second counts,” Taddeo said. “We were very fortunate in that we located the gentleman very quickly.”
Taddeo, who has 13 years on the force, told reporters that “First and foremost we’re here for the protection and safety of the residents of the Town of Hempstead.”
Councilman Anthony D’Esposito also praised the constables and noted their hard work year-round.
“Twenty four seven, 365 days a year Town of Hempstead Bay Constables are out on our waterways, whether it’s the Fourth of July weekend or a cold windy day in January, they are out there living the oath they took to protect and serve America’s largest township,” D’Esposito said. “It’s a time where you see ordinary individuals do extraordinary things.”
When asked whether they considered themselves heroes, after receiving the recognition, Mastracchio, who has been a constable for four years and has 18 years of fire department experience, calmly replied “No, we’re just doing our job.”