A battalion chief with the FDNY and his wife and daughter were honored by the town Tuesday for helping save a boater from drowning in Long Island Sound.
Jake Lemonda, who is also president of the FDNY Uniformed Fire Officers Association, his wife, Ann, 56, and daughter, Elizabeth, 23; were hailed as heroes in a ceremony at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay.
Two 11-year-old Glenwood Landing boys, Peter Liotta and Daniel Roper, also were honored for their role in the rescue.
Town spokesman Brian Devine said the Lemondas, of New Hyde Park, were enjoying a day out on their 30-foot Wellcraft on Aug. 20 when they saw a boater in distress in the Sound’s strong currents and got him out of the water.
“We feel very good, my family and I, that we were in the right place at the right time to help somebody else,” Jake Lemonda said after the ceremony, during which Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino honored the five lifesavers.
Officials from the town’s public safety department said the family discovered the stranded boater — a 44-year-old Glenwood Landing man who asked to remain anonymous — after he had jumped into the water from his approximately 30-foot Shellfish to get his 11-year-old son.
Devine said the son had gone for a swim and had also encountered the strong current. His two friends — Peter and Daniel — ended up casting out a life ring that the boy grabbed to get safely back onto the boat. Meanwhile, his father, who was still in the water about 1.5 miles north of Bayville, without a life jacket, began having problems.
“The kids realized he needed help,” Devine said. He said the boys called the Coast Guard, “as the boater had become exhausted from the windswept currents.”
The Lemondas, passing nearby, saw the man was in trouble “and made the quick and skillful decision to aid the individual,” Devine said.
He said Lemonda’s wife and daughter pulled the man aboard the Lemondas’ vessel “as he was mere moments from drowning while the three children were stranded nearby on their boat, alone.”
Lemonda then alerted the town’s bay constables who recommended the boater be taken ashore for an examination, and members of the Oyster Bay Fire Company met the vessel at the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park launching ramp.
Devine said the man who was rescued was taken to Glen Cove Hospital for treatment for exhaustion, dehydration and a low pulse and released.
Lemonda said the parents and grandparents of one of the 11-year-olds took their boat out to meet the boat with the boys and towed the vessel to the harbor.
The location of the ceremony was incorrect in a previous version of this story.