Queens firefighters and EMS personnel were among those honored for their acts of bravery as the FDNY Medal Day was held Wednesday, June 2, at the USTA Louis Armstrong Stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro presided over the FDNY’s largest public event since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic last year.
“Today, we can see the light at the end of the tunnel,” de Blasio said. “We’ve all been through hell together, but we are coming out of it, and one thing was clear throughout 2020 was the FDNY was always there. No matter what COVID threw at us, the FDNY persevered. There are many extraordinary moments in the history of this agency. 2020 will go down in the history books as one of those times when people did great things against the toughest of odds.”
Among those honored for their heroics were Firefighter Richard Schmidt of Rescue 4 in Woodside, who received the Emerald Society Pipes and Drums Medal for racing into a burning home and rescuing a woman who was hiding from the blaze in a closet.
Firefighter Joseph Ambrosio of Ladder Company 152 in Flushing was awarded the William F. Conran Medal for fighting his way through a maze of clutter without the protection of a hose-line to rescue a trapped victim.
Firefighter William J. Long of Engine Company 292 on Queens Boulevard in Woodside was recognized for entering a burning building where the fire hydrants were not working and prying loose a woman who was trapped in “extreme conditions.” Long received the Thomas A. Kenny Memorial Medal for his actions.
Rescue Company 4 Firefighter Antonio F. Tarabocchia was honored for running up a burning staircase, forcing open a locked door and finding a woman protecting a child from the flames. He rescued both from the smoke-filled bedroom. Tarabocchia was awarded the Emily Trevor/Mary B. Warren Medal for his heroics that night.
“Our members never back down when they find themselves in a life-and-death situation for a New Yorker, a child trapped by fire, an unconscious occupant overcome by smoke or carbon monoxide, an individual in desperate need of medical care,” Nigro said. “When someone is trapped and needs to be rescued, New Yorkers turn to the FDNY, and you rise to the challenge every day. In a year filled with sorrow and loss, these are the stories of bravery and hope and a reminder that no matter how dark the times may be, how difficult the challenge or dangerous the situation, the FDNY will always be there. Your actions we celebrate today represent the greatest traditions of our beloved department. Thank you all for ensuring that the FDNY continues to be the best and that it can be the greatest fire department in the world.”