Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday commended two NYPD officers with Long Island ties for saving a baby's life Saturday in Manhattan, calling them the "epitome of what public servants are meant to be."
But Officer David Roussine, 25, demurred, saying he and his partner "were just in the right place at the right time that day, and anybody in our position wearing this uniform would have done the same thing."
His partner, Michael Konatsotis, 45, agreed.
"We're human and we saw this child that was out there . . . Any police officer at this point would act the way we did," said Konatsotis. "We did what we were trained to do."
The mayor hugged the officers and gave them certificates of merit for saving 15-month-old Norah Schechter. He was joined by Police Commissioner William Bratton at a City Hall news conference.
"They did everything right under a duress the rest of us can only imagine," de Blasio said. The officers had "only seconds to save that baby. What they did in my view is brilliant."
They were on patrol on the Upper East Side when Norah's parents, Diane and Jason Schechter, flagged them down on the street after calling 911. The girl was unconscious and turning blue; the officers said they still don't know what caused her to stop breathing.
Roussine drove the family to NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill-Cornell Medical Center, arriving in less than a minute, as Konatsotis gave Norah mouth-to-mouth. When she belched, and revived, the sound sent waves of relief through the officers and the parents.
Konatsotis drew laughs when he described Norah's belch. "It was the greatest sound that I've heard," said the 16-year veteran and father of three.
Norah's parents and the officers had cried when they realized the girl was breathing again, Konatsotis said. Roussine, on the force about a year and a half, said, "We were meant to be there."
The partners said they left Norah a memento -- brass ornaments from their uniform collars with the number "30" for their precinct -- and hoped she would visit when she is older.