Justin Hespeler | Honoree for September 7th, 2023

Justin was nominated by his aunt, Lorraine, who shared a compelling and heroic story stated below.

Lieutenant Justin Hespeler served in the Marines, NYPD, and for the past 17 years the FDNY. One morning a few days before Thanksgiving, there was a house fire in Brooklyn. Heavy flames, thick smoke billowed from the windows. Family members, including a six-year-old boy, jumped from a two-story window, yelling, “there’s a baby up there.” Imagine the presence of mind of that young child. “There’s a baby up there.” Justin rushed into the fire, climbing a ladder to the second floor. Searing heat and zero visibility forced him to the floor. The stairs collapsed. The hose had burst, stopping fellow firefighters from being able to continue to put out the fire.

But the order came. “Evacuate immediately.”

Justin searched through the smoke as fast as he could, knowing that there was a confirmed life hazard he heeded the warning crawling through the hall until he found a five-week-old baby unconscious in his crib. Justin shielded the newborn with his body, crawled back through the smoke to the window and down to safety.

On May 17th, at a ceremony in the White House, Justin received the Public Safety officer Medal of Valor from President Biden the Highest Award this country can bestow on a Public Safety Officer for rushing in and rescuing a new born baby in a house fire in Brooklyn. The award is given for actions above and beyond the call of duty and exhibiting exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness, presence of mind, and unusual swiftness in action, regardless of his or her own personal safety, in an attempt to save or protect a human life”.

Justin, thanks for all you do for the community. As a way of saying thanks, you will receive a $100 gift card for Moe’s Southwest Grill.

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