LSBA Recognizes Heroes at SCI

Apr 30, 2010

by Deborah G. Blanchard, Attorney

On Tuesday, April 27, the Seamen’s Church Institute (SCI) hosted the annual Lifesaving Benevolent Association (LSBA) Awards at its headquarters in New York, acknowledging courageous individuals involved in lifesaving water rescues. This year’s ceremony recognized 31 persons involved in 17 separate acts of heroism.
Since its founding 160 years ago, LSBA has honored the lifesaving efforts of more than 1,000 police officers, firefighters, and civilians. The Association has three main objectives: to recognize and reward courage in the rescue of human life at sea or on navigable waters; to encourage training in seamanship, rescue methods and resuscitation; and to perform other services of a charitable and educational nature.
The awards on Tuesday honored individuals from the New York Police Department, NYPD Emergency Services, NYPD Scuba Team, Fire Department of New York, and FDNY Marine Unit One. Approximately 60 people attended the ceremony, including Chief of Special Operations William Seelig, FDNY (representing Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta) and Chief James Malloy, Commanding Officer of the NYPD Emergency Services Unit (on behalf of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly), Battalion Chief Joseph Carlsen from the FDNY, and Lt. James Zodwicj of Marine Company 1 of the FDNY. 
The 2010 awards honored those who aided the passengers on US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson, the persons who saved a carousing couple trying to cross the East River, and the rescuers of swimmers trapped under piers. A civilian, Mr. Eric Pienaar, received a Silver Medal, the highest honor awarded this year for his selflessness and courage in saving an emotionally disturbed woman who tried to end her life. After midnight in December 2008, while walking his dog near the North Cove in Battery Park City, Mr. Pienaar noticed a young woman sitting on a bench sobbing. He stopped and asked the young woman if she was alright, and though she said yes, he sat and stayed with her to make sure. Minutes later she broke away from him and jumped into the frigid water—with Mr. Pienaar following shortly behind her. He held onto her and the jagged seawall in rough waters for 20 minutes until additional help arrived. 
2010 LSBA Awards
  • Officer Michael J. Casali, NYPD Aviation Unit 
  • Officer Sean J. Daly, NYPD Aviation Unit
  • Detectives Robert Brager, NYPD Emergency Services Unit #5
  • Detective Joseph Delre, NYPD Emergency Services Unit #5
  • Mr. Eric Pienaar 
  • Firefighter John Rizzo
  • Firefighter Michael Tuma
  • Detective John McKenna
  • Firefighter Carl Gelardi
  • Detective James Coll 
  • Detective John McKenna
  • Detective Michael Delaney, NYPD Scuba Team 
  • Detective Robert Rodriguez, NYPD Scuba Team 
  • Firefighter Brian McLaughlin
  • Detective Clifford Allen, NYPD Emergency Service Truck 1
  • Officer Matthew Pecora 
  • Detective Matthew Sherman
  • Lieutenant Tate Hunt, Ladder 166  
  • Firefighter Raymundo Ferrer, Ladder 166
  • Firefighter Sean Connolly, Ladder 161
  • Firefighter Andy Bowman, Ladder 7
  • Firefighter Mark Barrett, FDNY Marine Company Six
  • Detective Thomas Byrnes, NYPD Emergency Services 1 
  • Firefighter Justin McNally, Ladder 16
  • Firefighter Michael J. Krochak, Marine 6
  • Detective Michael Cocchi, NYPD Scuba
  • Detective Robert G. Mirfield, NYPD Emergency Services Unit 1
  • Detective Philip W. Tropp, NYPD Emergency Services Unit 1
  • Firefighter Ronald Corsale, Ladder 16