Four Brooklynites were honored on May 13 for their volunteer service in the aftermath of the devastating gas explosion and building collapse in Lower Manhattan on March 26.
The volunteers are members of the Brooklyn Community Emergency Response Team, a group of citizens trained in disaster preparedness and emergency response skills in preparation for disasters. Volunteers undergo a 10-week training program led by active and retired members of the police and fire departments.
William Vitale and Janet Perry of Bay Ridge, Patricia Mendoza of East Flatbush, and Eric Hébert of Coney Island dedicated two weeks to helping at the scene of the collapse and at the Red Cross Reception Center. They were among 83 volunteers from across the city honored for lending hand after the shocking explosion and building collapse that killed two and injured more than a dozen.
The Commissioner of Emergency Management thanked the volunteers for their work at a ceremony at Middle Collegiate Church in Manhattan.
“These CERT volunteers sacrificed their time and efforts to help the East Village community recover from a tragic event, and we’re very grateful for their service,” said Commissioner Joseph Esposito. “The volunteers used their training to show what being a New Yorker is all about, selflessly helping friends, family, neighbors, even strangers, when necessary.”
The local councilwoman also expressed her gratitude for the citizens’ service, lauding their examples of courage and leadership.
“We need more New Yorkers like the ones who volunteered their time and efforts to help the East Village recover from this unfortunate and devastating event,” said Councilwoman Rosie Mendez (D–Manhattan). “I am proud to join in the honoring of these 83 CERT volunteers.”