A Nassau County police officer, who plucked a stuck duck from the muck in Wantagh's Mill Pond Park, said Tuesday he was surprised by the accolades and media attention that ensued.
Officer Jason Kogan responded to the park Friday on a call for help involving a duckling that was stuck in a hole by a waterfall.
With children and others cheering him on, Kogan, an 11-year veteran from the Seventh Precinct, stepped down off the cement wall into the water area, scooped up the duckling, and returned it to its mother.
"Oh my God, he's such a hero," a woman was heard to say on a video depicting the rescue, which was uploaded Tuesday to the Nassau County police Facebook page. "Oh my God. He's the coolest."
Six hours after the video was uploaded, it had received more than 31,000 views, 2,400 likes and close to 600 shares. Comments ranged from "awesome" to "heartwarming" to "He's a sweetheart!!!!"
At a Tuesday media briefing outside of the Seventh Precinct in Seaford, Kogan said he was surprised the low-key rescue had garnered so much interest.
"I thought it was cool, but I also didn't think it was a big deal," Kogan said. "It's what we do."
When he answered the call, a woman with a young child in a carrier approached him, he said, and pointed out the small duckling underneath the waterfall.
Kogan said he climbed a fence surrounding the waterfall, and walked through the algae-heavy waters to reach the duckling.
The only time he had "a slight little fear," he said, was when he reached down to pluck the duck out of the hole, because "sticking your hand into a dark hole, unknown of what could be in there" could result in something like a turtle bite.
Still, he said, "I stuck my hand where I couldn't see and I felt the little duckling. I picked him up and put him on the water."
Kogan said the duckling then tried coming back under the waterfall.
"I didn't realize that all the other ducklings went underneath Merrick Road and he was trying to get with them," Kogan said. "So I picked him up and put him back him back down on the bottom of the waterfall where all the other ducklings were and they all swam off together."
The reporters and camera operators at the briefing, who usually stick to asking questions, let out a collective: "Aaaaaaaw."
Asked how the ducklings reacted at being reunited, Kogan said with a laugh: "I didn't see any hugs or anything."
Det. Vincent Garcia, a department spokesman, said Kogan's actions were indicative of the police department's receptiveness to calls for assistance from residents.
"It could have been a duck, it could have been a kitten, it could have been a puppy, it could have been any kind of animal," said Garcia. "We are a service-oriented police department. We get a 911 call, we are going to respond. Regardless of the call . . . it happened to be a duck, and officer Kogan did what Nassau County police officers are going to do."
Then Garcia quipped: "The poor guy's gonna do 25 years, and he's gonna be known as the guy that saved the duck."