Point Beach Mayor Vincent Barrella, Borough Council and Police Chief Kevin O'Hara honored Point Beach police officers and Coast Guard for saving lives before, during and after Superstorm Sandy.
The officers were honored with plaques and a lot of applause at Tuesday night's council meeting.
Here is the script for the awards ceremony, led by Councilmember Bret Gordon, council liason to the police department, asking the first group of officers to come forward:
Bret Gordon says: “Will the following individuals please come forward and stand to the right of Chief O’Hara: PFC Kyle Grace, PFC Brian Spader, PFC Kyle Boturla, DFC Clint Daniel, and Dispatcher Christopher Burger.”
Councilmember Michael Corbally: On 10/18/2012 at 18:43 hrs. the police department received a call that a female subject had fallen into the inlet jetty and could not get herself out. Upon arrival, PFC Kyle Boturla was advised by a subject that the female had slipped on the rocks and was stuck inside one of the many tunnels and caverns that lead into the ocean. During this time, PFC Kyle Grace, PFC Brian Spader, and DFC Clint Daniel arrived on scene and all were brought to the location on the jetty where the woman had fallen. PFC Grace was able to maneuver and position himself down into the area where the trapped woman was, meeting up with two good Samaritans.
"It should be noted that the woman was located approximately four to five feet into the tunnel where water was continuously filling up, due to the ocean tides and waves breaking on top of the jetty. One of the Samaritans had removed his shirt and the woman was holding onto it in order to prevent her from not falling deeper into the cavern.
Fire Department personnel arrived on scene and a rescue rope was lowered down to PFC Grace, who in turn lowered it down to the victim, giving her instructions on how to secure the rope around her body. PFC Grace tied the rope around his body to act as an anchor and with the assistance of the two good Samaritans; the woman was pulled out of the cavern.
A stokes basket was then lowered down to PFC Grace and the victim was secured to it prior to being lifted out of the jetty. With the assistance of all the officers and fire personnel present, the woman was pulled out of jetty and brought to the shoreline where waiting First Aid personnel took over her care.
It should be noted that this rescue effort would not have been possible without the brave and courageous actions displayed by all officers and good Samaritans present who risked their lives under extremely adverse conditions.
It is the awards committee's recommendation that PFC Kyle Grace be awarded the Life Saving Award. The award reads as follows:
Chief O’Hara reads: “As ocean waves crashed on the jetty rocks and on top of himself and the victim, PFC Grace maneuvered himself down into the Inlet Jetty and successfully rescued an injured woman.”
Corbally: It is the awards committee's recommendation that PFC Kyle Grace, PFC Brian Spader, PFC Kyle Boturla, DFC Clint Daniel, and Dispatcher Christopher Burger be awarded the Unit Citation. The award reads as follows: Chief O’Hara reads: “A team effort under extraordinary conditions including all participating staff members, who in support of departmental operations distinguished themselves to effectuate the protection of life and property; specifically by, “In recognition for your participation and actions that led to the successful rescue of an injured woman trapped under the rocks in the inlet jetty.”
PFC Brian Spader
PFC Kyle Boturla
DFC Clint Daniel
Dispatcher Christopher Burger
Bret Gordon says: “Will the following individuals please come forward and stand to the right of Chief O’Hara: Coast Guard Petty Officers 2nd Class Nick Gera, Christopher Henry, and Daniel Wishnoff.”
Council Member Kristine Tooker: On 10/29/2012, Super Storm Sandy slammed the Jersey coast, forcing the United States Coast Guard personnel, based here in Point Pleasant Beach, to evacuate to Point Pleasant Beach Fire Department #2. It was here that Petty Officers 2nd Class Nick Gera, Christopher Henry, and Daniel Wishnoff donned their water rescue equipment and offered their assistance to emergency personnel stationed at the firehouse.
"During the height of the storm, these service members first responded with the Point Pleasant Beach Fire Department, when calls for assistance were received by our neighboring community in Point Pleasant Borough. These men are credited with rescuing approximately 30 residents from the back bays which were flooding into the streets of Point Pleasant.
"Later on the following morning, the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department started receiving emergency calls for trapped residents in their homes. These men assisted officers in evacuating 15 elderly residents from Kiefer’s Quarters rooming home, many whom suffer from dementia and other life debilitating ailments.
"After safely transporting these residents to the Point Pleasant First Aid and Emergency Squad, these men continued with their assistance to our community and are credited on conducting numerous other rescues. These men assisted with rescuing approximately 15-20 additional residents who were still trapped in their homes and wanted to leave. These men’s actions are a testament to the professionalism and dedication of all of our United States Coast Guard service members who perform similar acts of bravery on a day to day basis. We as a community owe them a debt of gratitude.
Tooker: It is the awards committee's recommendation that Petty Officers Nick Gera, Christopher Henry, and Daniel Wishnoff be presented with a Certificate of Appreciation. The certificate reads as follows: Chief O’Hara reads: “In appreciation and recognition for your assistance to officers with evacuations and rescues of numerous residents and visitors during Super Storm Sandy.”
Petty Officer Nick Gera
Petty Officer Christopher Henry
Petty Officer Daniel Wishnoff
Bret Gordon says: “Will the following individuals please come forward and stand to the right of Chief O’Hara: SFC Robert Goessel, PFC Derek O’Neill, PFC Brian Spader, DFC Clint Daniel, PFC Chris Mosca, and PFC Kyle Boturla”
Gordon: On 10/29/2012 at 18:30 hrs., Sgt. Robert Goessel approached DFC Clint Daniel and advised him of a 9-1-1 call from a family who was trapped in their home at 151 Chicago Avenue with water increasingly rising as a result of “Super Storm Sandy.”
The concern was heightened when three young children were among the trapped family members at the residence. Due to the rapidly increasing flood waters, hurricane force winds, and other life threatening hazards caused by the storm, emergency operations were to be suspended and all officers were summoned to return to headquarters.
Knowing the dangers and risks, the two officers drove to 151 Chicago Avenue with our 6x6 emergency management truck in an attempt to rescue the family.
Upon arrival, they were met by rising flood waters and street intersections that had become raging rivers of storm surge water and debris. Sgt. Goessel quickly devised a rescue plan and ordered DFC Daniel to climb on the back of the truck while he would walk to the home and carry each family member out of the house.
Sgt. Goessel then entered the above waist high water and carried two young boys to the truck, then going back and assisting the father, mother, and a 2 year old toddler in wading through the rising water, and also safely getting them loaded into the truck.
As officers drove out of the area, numerous residents in neighboring homes were signaling Sgt. Goessel and DFC Daniel with flashlights while also yelling out that they were also in need of rescue.
The family of five was transported to the Point Pleasant First Aid Squad where they were provided with shelter and emergency care. Once back at the First-Aid Squad, Sgt, Goessel requested officers to volunteer and assist him with going back to rescue others.
Sgt. Goessel, PFC O’Neill, PFC Spader, PFC Mosca, and PFC Boturla then formed a team and re-entered the neighborhood and performed numerous other rescues during the height of the storm and are credited with helping at least twenty people, half being woman and children.
To quote Sgt. Goessel as to the actions of his men, “As with all of the Officers in this department when need arises, and without concern for themselves, these officers stepped up without hesitation or question, nor did they expect thanks or recognition. Their actions are attributed, to the type of men they are.”
It is the awards committee recommendation that SFC Robert Goessel be presented the “Patrol Commanders Award.” The award reads as followed: Chief O’Hara reads: “For outstanding service to the Point Pleasant Beach Police Department; specifically by, on 10/29/2012 during the height of “Super Storm Sandy” and under hazardous conditions coordinated and participated in several rescues of residents and visitors found trapped from quickly rising flood waters.”
It is the awards committee recommendation that SFC Robert Goessel, PFC Derek O’Neill, PFC Brian Spader, DFC Clint Daniel, PFC Chris Mosca, and PFC Kyle Boturla be awarded the Unit Citation. The award reads as follows: Chief O’Hara reads: “A team effort under extraordinary conditions including all participating staff members, who in support of departmental operations distinguished themselves to effectuate the protection of life and property; specifically by, In recognition for your participation in partnering up with officers and successfully rescuing several residents and visitors from rising flood waters due to “Super Storm Sandy.”
PFC Derek O’Neill
PFC Brian Spader
DFC Clint Daniel
PFC Chris Mosca
PFC Kyle Boturla