MASSAPEQUA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island highway worker received a hero’s recognition on Tuesday after saving two teenage brothers on the water.
The incident happened on his day off, when he spotted two teens drifting away from from their boat in rough waters, CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported.
How do you thank someone who saved your life? It’s hard to put into words.
“I just want him to know he is a hero and he saved me and my brother,” rescued victim Joseph Lagrega said.
The hugs said even more, thanks for the July 12 rescue in the waters off Fire Island.
The winds were whipping and the Lagrega family, out for a boat ride, was having trouble anchoring. Vincent, 17, jumped in to try help, but choppy waters began sweeping him out to sea.
His 15-year-old brother Joseph jumped in to save him, but he, too, was soon gasping for air.
“I was just scared for my life, and I thank God that he was here to save us,” Joseph said.
“He” is Chris Madden, who was on a day off from the Oyster Bay Highway Department. On a boat in the distance, Madden saw the boys struggling, so he hopped on a Jet Ski to help.
“I saw these guys drowning at the time, struggling to get to the boat. So I went and got the one kid and roped him off at the boat and went and got the other kid,” Madden said.
Two lives were saved, thanks to a Madden, who was in the right place at the right time, with the right stuff.
“I just feel like I did a good thing. Good guy doing a good thing. Two lives saved and they went home thanking God,” Madden said.
“Chris Madden is much more than a good guy. He is a hero. Had he not responded, the outcome would have been tragically different,” Oyster Bay Supervisor Joseph Saladino said.
The humble hero is receiving a town citation and the boundless thanks of a grateful dad.
“It was definitely a traumatic day for our family. We are incredibly grateful to Chris and his quick reaction,” Arthur Lagrega said.
The Lagregas said they’ll be back on the boat, but with deep appreciation for swift changes in water conditions and the swift thinking of a stranger who saved their lives.
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