Middle Village firefighter honored for saving man from drowning in Hudson River

Photo courtesy of Councilman Robert Holden

Weeks after Firefighter Christopher Gaulrapp of Middle Village helped to save a drowning man from the Hudson River, he received on Oct. 18 not only an award from the Juniper Park Civic Association but also a proclamation from Councilman Robert Holden.

Gaulrapp, a Middle Village native, started with Forest Hills Volunteer Ambulance Corps at 15 years old and attended John Jay College before joining the FDNY as an EMT in 1999 and became a firefighter in February 2001.

“We received a call shortly after roll-call, which is shortly after 9 o’clock in the morning for a person in the Hudson River – 45th Street. Our fire house is only about two blocks away,” Gaulrapp said who said other rescue vessels were already on at the scene. “Due to the height of the bulkhead, they weren’t able to get him up. At that point, the lieutenant asked me to get into the water. We jumped in and everybody worked as a team. Members from Rescue 1 and Ladder 4 and Ladder 21 came over and put a ladder into the water and we were able to secure the victim.”

The drowning man, who was not far from the pier, was pulled from the water where he was treated by EMS, according to Gaulrapp.

Gaulrapp was joined by his wife Jacqueline and children Nora, 10, and Christopher, 8, when he received the award at Our Lady of Hope in Middle Village.

“Firefighters are so amazing. They go into burning buildings and jump into rivers. They do everything above and beyond and they risk their lives,” Holden said.

JPCA President Tony Nunziato presented Gaulrapp with the organization’s Hero Award; he praised the firefighters work not only with the August rescue but his recent work with FEMA in North Carolina and years of service to the city.

“I wouldn’t even think about going into the water,” Nunziato said. “The man has an amazing family … It’s just built into them what they give to us, and that’s why we salute them. The FDNY, doing such a great job with their heroism.”

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