Members of the Aberdeen Township police and fire departments were honored Tuesday for their heroic response to the on Church Street in Aberdeen that killed a six-month-old Holmdel boy and his 22-year-old caretaker.
P.O. John Young, P.O. Michael Plant, Det. Hank Chevalier, Det. Michael Vaccaro, and Sgt. Theodore Sigismondi were presented with valor awards from the Bayshore Fire Chief's Association at the township council's Oct. 2 meeting.
The Aberdeen Fire Co. District No. 1 extrication team was also awared a unit citation of merit for their efforts at the scene of the accident.
Don McNab, a former fire chief in Aberdeen and a member of the Bayshore Fire Chief's Association (BFCA), recounted the accident prior to presenting the awards along with BFCA vice president Joe Rice and BCFA treaure secretary Donald Walling.
At 10 a.m. on Sept. 6, McNab explained, Sgt. Sigismondi, P.O. Young and P.O. Plant were on patrol and responded immediately to a report of a serious accident about 200 yards from police headquarters. Also hearing the call while at work in the detectives' bureau, Det. Chevalier and Det. Vaccaro responded to the scene.
"Upon arrival, the officers found two cars involved in an accident, a t-bone. Both vehicles sustained major damage. The westbound vehicle contained three injured occupants, all unconcious," McNab said.
The occupants of the westbound vehicle were later identified as a 22-year-old Janine Hayes from South Africa who worked as a caretaker for the Bauder family of Holmdel, and the family's two-year-old and 6-month-old boys.
"[Plant and Vaccaro] determined that immediate medical attention was necessary and time was critical," McNab said.
Plant and Vaccaro removed six-month-old Gabriel from the rear window, which had shattered, and drove him in a patrol car to Bayshore Community Hospital. Plant performed CPR en route.
Young and Chevalier did the same for two-year-old William, with Chevalier driving a patrol vehicle while Young administered first aid to the boy, McNab explained.
Sigismondi remained on the scene to direct rescue operations and conduct the initial investigation into the accident.
The extrication team from Aberdeen Fire Co. District No. 1 also responded to the scene to assist with the accident.
A somber mood set in at the Aberdeen Township Municipal Building as McNab recounted this story, and one by one the officers walked across the front of the room the accept their award.