Parks Hero Saves Woman

PEP photo by Clarence Elie-Rivera

PEP photo by Clarence Elie-Rivera

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS

Parks Supervisor Larry Kalman was inspecting the fishing pier at Midland Beach, when a fellow Parks Dept. employee pointed to a woman walking out on the jetty.

“She’s going to kill herself,” thought Kalman, a Local 1508 member who works in District 2 of the Dept. of Parks and Recreation Supervisor on Staten Island. Kalman jumped over the pier’s 4-foot railing into the sand, about a 6-foot drop, and started to go toward her.

“I asked her was she OK? She yelled ‘F— off! I hate my life!’”

On the morning of April 19, the distraught woman stormed to the end of the jetty and jumped.

“She went under several feet,” Kalman said, “The water was dark and choppy” — a bone-chilling 45 degrees. “Suddenly she popped up. I reached for her and grabbed her arm. She gasped for air.”

“I held on, but she fought back,” Kalman said. She screamed, “‘Let me go! I want to die!’”

“I was thinking, Oh my God! I didn’t want her to drown. I didn’t let go, I just hoped I could hold on!”

The wind-whipped waves swelled and pounded the rocks. But the dedicated Parks worker was determined to keep a tight grip on the suicidal woman.

“She was slippery and kicked against the rocks to break free. She fought me the whole time,” Kalman said. “I couldn’t pull her up. She could get cut pretty bad by the crossties,” the steel construction rods in the jetty below the watery surface.

“I was afraid the waves would slam her into the rocks and knock her unconscious,” Kalman said. “After about 3 or 4 minutes, I realized I may have to jump in to save her.”

Help arrived as a Parks Enforcement Patrol Officer and a passerby rushed to their aid. The three hoisted the substantial 30-year-old out of the water. Kalman said, “Police showed up. She tried to get away, but they handcuffed her and took her to the hospital.

“I’ve been on the job 27 years but have never experienced anything like this,” Kalman said. “If we were not there, she would have drowned. It feels good to help. I don’t know what her life will be like. She wanted to die.”

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