A Lawrence civic group recognized the rescue efforts of a team of Nassau police officers who rushed to try to save the lives of a 4-year-old girl and her nanny - both of whom drowned in a backyard pool several weeks ago.
"At that incident, we had the opportunity to observe the empathy and dedication of our police department, as a reminder of how much we owe them," said Rabbi Elozer Kanner, a chief officer of Chevra Hatzallah, the organization that sponsored a barbecue Monday to show appreciation for the officers.
The event took place in Lawrence, a few doors from the site where Naama Markovits, 4, and Lorena Canales-Mejia, 32, of Inwood, died June 23.
The families of the victims did not attend the event.
Police said the two victims were pulled from the deep end of the in-ground pool by a painter after the girl's 5-year-old brother ran to the front of the home to tell him his sister and nanny were floating and possibly drowning.
Steve Bellamy, a Fourth Precinct officer, was one of many police and emergency medical personnel who rushed to the home. "This goes beyond doing a job and carrying out a task," said Bellamy, 47, of Valley Stream. "When you lose a child, you really feel it personally, and the community has understood that."
As a father of children 9 and 13, Bellamy said he experienced a mix of emotions after the incident. He and his co-workers were so shaken up that they stayed with the family during shiva, the weeklong mourning period observed by Jews.
"I actually didn't feel right until I was able to sit with the family and take the opportunity to talk with them and express my condolences," Bellamy said, adding the family seemed to understand how hard they tried to save them.
"I wish my efforts could have yielded better results," he said. "It's not one of the more enjoyable things you have to do as a police officer, but it's part of the job."
With Zachary R. Dowdy