by Deborah G. Blanchard, Staff Attorney
On Tuesday, April 14, 2009, 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 19 persons involved in 13 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. In January 2009, SCI assumed the administration of LSBA.
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 William Siegel, 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).
The rescues ranged from saving emotionally disturbed people, apprehending a fleeing criminal, to helping stranded teenagers. One particularly dramatic rescue involved off-duty FDNY Battalion Chief Barry “Butch” Brandes, a 3-time LSBA awardee, swimming out to assist a surfer struggling to rescue a woman perilously close to a rock jetty. The Chief swam 40 yards in 6-8 foot waves and began to bring the woman back to shore, but the waves forced them up against the rocks. After losing his grip on the victim several times, the Chief managed to secure the woman and carry them both safely back to shore.
“SCI is privileged to have hosted an event honoring these impressive citizens,” said David M. Rider, President and Executive Director of SCI. “We look forward to continuing LSBA’s tradition of recognizing the bravery of those who risk their lives in the water in the service of others.”
2009 LSBA Awards
- Detective Philip W. Tropp of NYPD Emergency Services
- Detective John S. McKenna of NYPD Emergency Services
- Detective George Sichler of the NYPD SCUBA Team
- Officer John Purcell of the NYPD SCUBA Team
- Firefighter Anthony J. Citera
- Ladder 161: Firefighters Thomas Dolan, Stephen LaRosa, Andrew Mastroberti, Carmine Pecoraro, Robert Scheer and Lieutenant Anthony Smaldone
- Officers Tim Bridgman and Michael Casali of NYPD SCUBA Team
- Battalion Chief Barry “Butch” Brandes
- Firefighter John Rizzo of FDNY
- Police Officer Anthony Cordero, NYPD Emergency Services
- Detective John Kenny
- Firefighter Thomas Sullivan, FDNY Marine Company One
- Lieutenant Timothy Moynihan, FDNY Marine Company One