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WBAB’s Joe Rock will be recognizing Long Island First Responders every Friday.
We’re asking YOU to nominate a First Responder and give us the opportunity to shine a light on them and the good work that they do.
Thanks to those serving Long Island and to their families for the sacrifices they make.
First Responder Friday is brought to you by Long Island Neurosurgical & Pain Specialists.
Jose was nominated by PSEG Field Supervisor, Edward Phelan, who said, “Jose Morales has been a lineman since 2000. His home in Baldwin Harbor was decimated in SuperStorm Sandy. He had just returned to work after knee surgery in January of 2017 when he and a colleague went to a job site to deliver a tool to a crew working in Far Rockaway. When they arrived, Jose noticed smoke coming from the back of a home. As they got closer, they noticed flames coming out of a shed attached to an attached home.
Jose directed his colleague, Hiram Garcia, to alert the other three lineman as he put his new knee to the test and jumped over the six foot fence and raced toward the fire. He heard a popping sound coming from the shed as he got closer. By this time, the entire back of the house and now surrounding trees were engulfed in flames.
Jose ran around to the front of the house and kicked in the door… a woman standing inside seemed to be in shock. Flames were behind her. Jose ran inside and pulled her to safety. She wasn’t able to tell him whether there was anyone else inside the house so once she was safely outside, with flames everywhere, Jose ran back inside to check if there was anyone else inside.
At the same time, the other four crewmembers were going from house to house banging on doors to alert the neighbors. Colleague, Craig Hanson, broke down the door of the adjoining house, which by now was also engulfed. There was a man inside who was resistant to leaving. Hanson called to Jose, and the two men dragged the man to safety.
As they got out to safety, the entire structure went up in flames. Thanks to their efforts, everyone was evacuated safely and firefighters arrived to put out the fire. Besides Jose, the other PSEG Long Island lineman heroes are Hiram Garcia, Anthony Grabowski, Craig Hanson and Brandon Arias. Thank you for recognizing the work of lineman as First Responders for Lineman Appreciation Day.”
Jose, thanks for all you do for the community!
Robert was nominated by his brother, Tim, who said, “Search/Rescue, Rescue/Recovery on the ""Pile"" for months. Then went to S.I Landfill to sift debris fields for DNA for the fallen. Advocate to get Zadroga Bill passed. Went to DC walked H.O.C and the H.O.R with Fealgood Foundation. Guided many 1st Responders to the WTC Health program”. Robert wishes to dedicate this honor to all the 9/11 Responders. Robert, thanks for all you do for the community!
Ray was nominated by The Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter, who said, “The Alzheimer’s Association Long Island Chapter would like to nominate Suffolk County Police Officer Raymond Sitler. He is a 26 year veteran of the police department and is currently the Crisis Intervention Coordinator. For the past 17 years, Officer Sitler has been teaching a curriculum to allow officers to understand the unique needs of vulnerable populations. In this work, he has been partnering with the Alzheimer’s Association to equip law enforcement and other public safety/first responders with information and proper protocols to use when encountering individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias to keep first responders and the individuals and communities they serve safer”. Ray, thanks for all you do for the community!
David was nominated by his friend, Robert, who said, “On December 8th, 2018, I woke my wife up in the middle of the night with what I thought was gastric reflux. My wife called 911 and David Arzuaga (EMT from West Islip Fire Department) arrived with his team. Dave saved my life. He ran an EKG in my bedroom and confirmed that I was having a massive heart attack. Hard to believe because I thought I was a healthy 50 year old guy! Dave used his training and proceeded to implement a program that was put together by Dr. Ezra Deutsch, an Interventional Cardiologist from Bay Shore. When EMT's have a patient having a heart attack they make one phone call which sets off series of procedures whereby the Interventional Cardiologist will be operating in the catherization lab on that patient within one hour of the phone call. With that being said, David stabilized me at home with mediation, IV's and got my vitals up enough to be transported to the hospital. Dave also prepared for the worst, which was getting the paddles ready to shock me in case I flat-lined. I owe my life to David Arzuaga and the entire WI Fire Department unit of first responders that night. David is so kind that he actually stopped over my house to see how I was doing a week after the heart attack! He is a man who is deserving of recognition and gratitude. I would like to come down to the station and personally do a shout out for David and offer the public some tips about the differences between heart burn and a heart attack”. David, thanks for all you do for the community!
Nadine was nominated by her fiance, Wilfred, who said, “Nadine is not only a volunteer EMT-B at Bay Shore Brightwaters Rescue Ambulance she is also currently deployed to Kuwait. Nadine has been volunteering for over 5 years between Brentwood and Bay Shore. She is also in the military for over 14 years with this being her second deployment. So from her Fiance and second family over here at Bay Shore, we love you Nay and miss you”. Nadine, thanks for all you do for the community!
Joe was nominated by his friend, Wendy, who said, “I nominate Joe Cuccia for First Responder Friday. He truly loves what he does. Helping others in their time of need is his life's calling. His unwavering dedication as a firefighter, EMT, and law enforcement officer spans more than 35 years. He is an active lifetime member of Hagerman Fire Dept in his home town of East Patchogue since 1984. He is a NYS certified EMT since 1987. His passion for helping others and serving the community didn't stop there. His career path later took him to Fulton County, NY, where he was a corrections officer (20 yrs) and was chief of Caroga Lake FD for 6 years and maintained his EMT status. He is back on LI since '08 and remains with Hagerman FD and is also a F/T EMT with South Country Ambulance. It doesn't matter what his personal circumstances are etc...if that pager goes off and we are not far, he goes. I can’t begin to express how proud I am of Joe. I don’t mind waiting in the car til they get back or eating dinner alone because he is out there with his brothers and sisters doing what they do best. Saving lives and making a difference in the community. So thank you again for reading my letter and God Bless our Emergency Responders everywhere”. Joe, thanks for all you do for the community!
Jim was nominated by his wife, Christine, who said, “I would like to nominate my husband Jim Gilliland. Right now, at the young age of 55+, he may no longer jump on an ambulance or a fire truck when the sirens chime, but he can do something more important. He is an EMS instructor, teaching those who want to help others. Jim became a First Responder about 35 years ago after his sister sustained an injury at home, and he couldn’t help her. He felt helpless and never wanted to have that feeling again. He joined the Point Lookout/Lido Fire Department as a Fire Fighter and also went to school to become an Emergency Medical Technician. Over the years, he advanced his education all the way up the ladder to NY State Certified Paramedic.
He worked in Long Beach Hospital (Prior to 1991) as an EMT in the Emergency room. He is retired from the Nassau County Police Department EAB unit where, for the last 15 years of his career, he was an instructor, teaching EMTs & Paramedics. He has been an active firefighter/Paramedic with the North Lindenhurst Fire Department since 1992, since 1995 he has been the Department Chaplain.
Jim is a wonderful teacher, kind and compassionate person, a great husband and loving father. There are not many Fire Departments/ Ambulance Facilities on Long Island that do know or have not heard of Jim Gilliland as an instructor and have benefited from his knowledge and expertise. Jim has been nominated more than once, and has received the EMT of Excellence award. He is a great teacher, always willing to help out anybody willing to learn. He truly cares about the continuing education of the EMTs so they can give their best care to those in need in emergency situations”. Jim, thanks for all you do for the community!
Harold was nominated by his nephew, Kevin, who said, “I would love to nominate my uncle, Harold "Hal" Jantzen. He just finished his long devoted career with the Suffolk County Police Department. Proudly served 48 years of service. He reached as high of Inspector for ranking. He is not only proud of his career and what he did, but also a proud father and grandfather. He has always put everyone first! Here's to many years of great success!”. Harold, thanks for all you do for the community!
Charlie was nominated by his daughter, Brittany, who said, “My dad has been a part of the Bayport FD since before I was born (1990) and years before that. He was chief numerous times, and to this day is a dispatcher part-time, even after retiring. He also volunteers as a driver for the Sayville Ambulance company. He is like the mayor of Bayport and everyone knows and respects him”. Charlie, thanks for all you do for the community!
Mike was nominated by his partner, Adam, who said, “A hard working guy who's been involved with Selden’s finest since he was a younger kid, always going out of his way to do the right thing, and saving countless lives as a firefighter”. Mike, thanks for all you do for the community!
Gene was nominated by his wife, Jennifer, who said, “Gene is a Deputy Chief in the FDNY who gives everything he has to protect the people of NYC and make sure that his fire officers and firemen always come home to their families. Gene is passionate about what he does and gives nothing less than 100%”. Gene, thanks for all you do for the community!
Giuseppe was nominated by his wife, Danielle, who said, “Giuseppe has been in Brookhaven Fire Dept for 16 years and just finished his term as chief in 2018. He goes above and beyond for his guys, they are like family. No matter what is happening, when the horns go off, he is out the door like lightning, no matter how big or small the emergency is. The guys call him day and night for just about everything and he never hesitates to take that call. He is a true neighborhood hero.” Giuseppe, thanks for all you do for the community!
Steven was nominated by his brother, Kevin, who said, “My brother has volunteered at Port Jefferson EMS for almost 2 years now. The reason why I feel that he deserves to be recognized is because although he is only required to volunteer for 6 hrs per week, he's put in a total of over 2,500 volunteer hours to date with that agency. This is all while working 35-40 hours per week and attending college. Lastly, I feel that like everyone else in this field, Steven truly loves what he does and he never wants to be recognized for his actions.” Steven, thanks for all you do for the community!
Anthony was nominated by his wife, Lisa, who said, “As an FDNY Lieutenant with over 25 years experience, Anthony has been through a lot. From the loss of 3 men from L170 in 1998 in a fatal fire, to the trauma of 9/11, losing 7 members of his first firehouse (L101), to responding to the Rockaway plane crash, and now helping to take care of friends who came down with 9/11 illnesses. He continues to persevere every single day for the people of NYC. He is humble, and well loved by his men. He deserves this! Thank you.” Anthony, thanks for all you do for the community!
Deputy/Inspector Richard O’Carroll joined the Suffolk County Police Department on September 24th 1986. After graduating the Suffolk County Police Academy, O’Carroll was assigned to the Third Precinct where he served until 2001. An officer’s job sometimes includes forcing you to switch careers for a day, as during his time in the Third Precinct, he had to become a doctor and fireman. He helped deliver a baby boy, and twice received awards for rescuing people from a burning building.
In 2001, O’Carroll started rising through the ranks of the department when he was promoted to sergeant, and transferred to the Fourth Precinct. He moved back to the Third Precinct in 2008 when he was promoted to Lieutenant.
In 2013, O’Carroll was promoted to Captain and was transferred to the Police Academy. Three years later he was promoted to Deputy Inspector and served in the Office of the Chief of Department. A year later he went on to serve in the Community Relations Bureau where he helped support the department’s mission of improving relations between the police and the community.
O’Carroll says he will miss the people, the camaraderie, his coworkers and the many friends he’s made over the years. He’ll also miss the feeling of making a difference in the community he’s served.
O’Carroll hopes to find a way, perhaps through volunteering, to continue to serve his community.
Deputy Inspector O’Carroll thanks for all you do for the community.
Robert was nominated by his brother, who said, “My brother works as an NYPD officer, as well as a volunteer Fire Fighter for North Babylon. He has answered the call of duty on both spectrums. He is also very gracious and passionate about what he does.” Robert, thanks for all you do for the community!
Sabrina Santiago is a volunteer for Wading River Fire Department and works for Medford Volunteer Ambulance Company and Lakeland Fire Department. She was nominated by her friend Chris Miceli who said "Sabrina Santiago decided to 180' her life after getting a degree, and go into the Emergency Medical world. Since then has worked over 60 hours a week as an EMT, never sleeping, and constantly on call at the chance something happens. She deserves this recognition because she isn't the type to want recognition, and does it for the love of it. This is the kind of person who needs to see people appreciate what she does, even if they don't show it". Sabrina thanks for all you do for the community!!!
Shawn Ziegler of Ronkonkoma Fire Department was nominated by his daughter Alex who said "I consider my dad my hero I'm so lucky to have joined the fire department with you and follow you in your foot steps love you". Shawn thanks for all you do for the community!!!
Micheal was nominated by his best friend, Dakota Filigenzi, who said, “Michael deserves to be honored because fighting fires is his passion; his life. He comes from a line of firefighters (his parents are both in the Fire Department), and has been involved in all aspects of firefighting since a child. Under his leadership, the Junior Fire Department won Youth Group of the year for 2018. I was part of this group and know Michael to be a great friend as well as the most dedicated, knowledgeable, compassionate First Responder.” Michael, thanks for all you do in the community!
Eric was nominated by his Fiance’, Shirley Guale, who said, “Eric is so dedicated to being a firefighter. He hears that siren and he's ready to go. He has been in the fire service for 5 years. He loves his community and is well known in the community. I am his biggest fan and supporter because I know he loves it and is committed.” Eric, thanks for all you do in the community!
Jamie was nominated by Thomas Young, who said, “Jamie has been a police officer and detective with the MTA Police Department for 15 years, and has been a volunteer EMT, ex-chief, and current director of Community Amulance Co. of Sayville. In addition, Jamie continues to serve his community despite having been recently diagnosed with a rare form of abdominal cancer, related to work at Ground Zero during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Jamie continues to be an asset to his community, even while he heals from his illness, and is a role model for all to follow.” Jamie, thanks for all you do in the community!
Kaitlin was nominated by Anthony Competiello, who said, “She is a very focused certified EMT for New York State! She has put all her hard work and dedication into showing the community of Deer Park her love for what she wants to be for the rest of her life. She never misses any calls and loves to fullfill her opportunity the best she can!” Kaitlin, thanks for all you do in the community!
Vinny was nominated by his nephew, Jesse Castaldy, who said, “Uncle Vinny wanted nothing in life but to be a firefighter since he was a child. He worked hard and reached his goal of joining the FDNY. he does charity events. Dressing up as Santa for sick kids. More than that he been featured multiple times for his heroism, rescuing people from dangerous situations. Most notably for pulling a woman from a burning car at an accident he witnessed while off duty. Surely saving her life. That's just the type of guy he is. He runs toward danger instinctively even when not being paid for it. But he doesn't take himself to seriously. Vinny is a jokester a prankster . knows how to have the best of times and always the guy in the spotlight of any family function or event he attends. He's always been a hero to me and deserves to be recognized as the hero he is to you and all of New York.” Vinny, thanks for all you do in the community!
John was nominated by his mother, Donna Nicosia, who said, “THIS GUY PUTS COUNTLESS HOURS OF HIS time into everything he does. My Son has 3 saves under his belt and is only 20 years old. Thus, the Farmingdale Volunteer Fire Company has kept him on a straight path and opened his future with the hopes of being NYC Fireman. They don't punch a clock and don't get a check..its in their hearts to be lifesavers. A great group of people. No matter what the weather they are always ready to respond. God Bless all our 1st responders. Thank you for recognizing them.” John, thanks for all you do in the community!
Zarina was nominated by her sisater Yvette Mahan who said "She always puts everyone ahead of herself. She started as a volunteer in Lakeland FD became an EMT and worked her way to NYC EMS. She has climbed the ladder to become a Paramedic. She has the opportunity to go higher. But wants to stay where she is to be that person who makes a difference between life and death. Always giving to her station and everyone around her. She has been open to all of her step familie,s friends and has kept many kids from going the wrong direction. Most going into the Military and finding the right path. She became a Foster Mom to a lovely young boy who would have not had a chance without her 21 months ago. I wouldn't change a thing about her I'm so proud of her and who she has become. She has always been there when I needed her. Especially when Super storm Sandy hit us. She took my son for several months while my husband and I could try and get the house in some sense of a livable state to bring both our kids back.I couldn't thank her enough for that and all the help she did for me as my sounding board and helping me keep it together for the past 4 years of recovery. Thank you Zarina for all you do I love you with all my heart." Zarina thanks for all you do for the community!
Kenny was nominated by his wife Jaimie who said "I think my husband should be honored because he's been volunteering with Cutchogue Fire Department since 2007 once he joined he soon got his EMT Certification! He loved it so much he went back to school to get his EMT-Critical Care certification. He has now made it his career, he works for multiple ambulance companies on the east end. He sacrifices family time to take care of other people's family's he wouldn't trade it for the world he lives and breaths EMS. On his days off he still goes on calls for his volunteer fire department. He was recently voted Captain of Cutchogue Fire Department by his peers which he manages to do while he works 72 hours a week as a paid 1st responder. I'm extremely proud to call him my husband he is selfless and hard working!"
Ashley was nominated by her mother Jessica who said "Ashley is one of the most dedicated people you will find. She volunteers with the Hicksville FD as a NYS certified EMT. She can have 3 calls in one night at all hours and runs so she can help people in need. She also serves as an adviser to their Juniors group. As a woman in a mainly male dominant profession it does show its challenges but Ashley always perseveres! She most definitely deserves this and can use the uplift she would receive from this recognition." Ashley thanks for all you do for the community.