City Lifeguards Honored for Orchard Beach Rescue

Orchard Beach Lifeguards, with Local 461 President Franklyn Paige, were honored by elected officals on Aug. 17 for rescuing a drowning man.

By DIANE S. WILLIAMS, with additional reporting and photo by MIKE LEE

City Lifeguards who saved a drowning man at Orchard Beach in July were awarded citations for their heroism from three state and city lawmakers on August 17.

“When we think of first responders, we often think of EMS, Fire and Police. Yet, on July 29, these young men and women–lifeguards–were the first responders and saved someone’s life,” said City Council member Mark Gjonaj at the Orchard Beach press conference.

Lifeguards Andriy Kapys and Arlene Suvana pulled the victim, Joachin Rosado, 33, who had collapsed Face forward in knee-deep water. Immediately Lifeguards Julio Benjamin and Troy Washington began CPR to resuscitate the unconscious victim.

“In emergency events like this our training automatically kicks in,” said Lifeguard Borough Coordinator Neil Veloz, who quarterbacked the rescue. The team took extra precautions during the rescue to lessen transmission of COVID-19.

“It’s great to see these young Lifeguards spring into action and use everything we teach them in our daily drills become second nature to them,” Veloz said.

Seven days after nearly drowning, Joachin Rosado checked himself out of Jacobi Medical Center, where he spent three days in ICU. Rosado made a full recovery. He phoned the Lifeguards at Orchard Beach to thank them for saving his life.

“This rescue was a success because of teamwork and the advanced training and preparation the Parks Dept. gives City Lifeguards,” said Local 461 City Lifeguards President Franklyn Paige.

“This is a celebration of life– this is why we are here– because on that fateful day, a man’s life was saved, and because of these lifeguards, his family will have him for the days and years to come,” said Bronx Deputy Borough President Marricka Scott-McFadden, who represents Borough President Rubin Diaz Jr.

“We thank these men and women of labor for stepping up on behalf of all New Yorkers,”  said state Senator Jamaal T. Bailey.

“We applaud the Lifeguards who saved this man’s life. They are the youngest of our city’s unsung heroes of first responders,” said Local 508 President Peter Stein. “It’s terrific that these Bronx officials took time to acknowledge their rescue.”

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