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Oyster Bay Town sanitation crew comes to man’s aid

On Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino honored a group of Oyster Bay sanitation workers who helped a resident from Hicksville retrieve his lost items -- including a wallet, cellphone and pocketbook -- by rummaging through a truck full of trash. (Credit: Newsday / Chris Ware)

A man who accidentally threw away his wife’s cellphone, purse and wallet was relieved after Town of Oyster Bay sanitation workers found it in a pile of rotting garbage on Monday.

Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino handed eight of the employees citations of appreciation during a news conference yesterday at the town public works yard in Syosset. At least nine workers participated in the search.

“In spite of all of the circumstances seemingly working against them, the selfless individuals . . . took the time, took the dedication, in the pouring rain, to rummage through mounds and mounds of frankly rotting trash on an August day to help this resident,” Saladino said.

The man’s garbage was picked up at 9 a.m. Monday, and sanitation workers received a call about the lost items at about 12:30 p.m., sanitation employee Gary Terrell said. Town officials said the resident did not want to be identified.

The employees spent about an hour sifting through refuse with rakes at a transfer station in Old Bethpage, said employee Chris Geary. They first looked for material that was from the same truck as the man’s trash, so they would know where in the garbage pile to focus their search, and they found it in mail addressed to a house a block and a half away from the man’s, Geary said. After about an hour, Doug Heron found the items. “It was lucky,” Geary said.

Saladino said the employees “went way above and beyond the call of duty because it was about helping a resident.”

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