By Jeremy Walsh
State Sen. John Sabini (D-Jackson Heights) honored the teens with plaques at Elmhurst Hospital Center Friday. He and hospital officials reiterated the importance of the state's Safe Haven law, which allows the parents or guardians of an infant to leave the baby with a responsible adult at a fire station, hospital or police station within five days of birth without facing legal consequences.”Situations like this should never happen in the first place,” Sabini said. “Parents abandoning a newborn should know they will not be punished if they act promptly and responsibly.”Chris Constantino, executive director of the hospital, said Christina would probably have died in the sub-freezing air if the teenagers had not found her when they did.”We will gladly accept any baby that's found out there,” he said.Christopher Moncado, 15, his brother Brian, 13, Gabriel Mercedes, 16, and Luis Cordero, 19, were walking home that night when they heard crying coming from the Dumpster on Lamont Avenue. They looked in, saw the child and immediately called 911. Worried the paramedics would not come in time, two of them rushed over to the 110th Precinct station to alert police.When they returned to the Dumpster, medics were already on the scene. The baby was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center, where she was treated for several days before being released to a foster family in Middle Village.”It was perfect timing,” Mercedes said. “Knowing that I saved a life, I felt great.”The boys were not the only ones feeling good. Edison Moncado, father of Christopher and Brian, praised the four for being responsible.”I felt happy that my son and his friends found the girl,” he said in Spanish.”Our friends were all so proud of us,” Mercedes said.In addition to the publicity, the teens also received college scholarships from City Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-East Elmhurst). Christopher Moncado and Mercedes said they were not sure what they wanted to study, but Cordero, who just graduated from high school, said he wanted to study aviation.Mercedes, Cordero and the Moncado family also bought Christina two baby outfits and a blanket, which the Adminstration for Children's Services will deliver to her, Sabini said.”The boys wanted to show they had not forgotten her and show a token of affection for the holiday season,” he said.Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.