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Nassau County Legislature

Breadcrumb Start you are here >Home/LD19/News Releases/2008

Denenberg Honors Heroic Bellmore Residents

Nassau County Legislator Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick) today awarded Bellmore residents Steven Berger and Diane Etri with the Nassau County Good Samaritan Award for their role in the rescue of three Stony Brook University students whose boat sank in the waters behind Mr. Berger’s home.

“When three young men needed help in the middle of the night, Steven Berger and his partner Diane Etri acted heroically and without hesitation,” Denenberg said. “I cannot think of a more deserving recipient of this award, and I am honored to present it.”

At around 3 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24, Stony Brook University students Stas Gulevskiy, Erzen Gashi and Dan Carvalho took a small dinghy into the cold waters of Bellmore Creek. The boat quickly began taking on water and the three men were forced to jump out and swim towards a small island in the creek.

Ms. Etri heard their cries for help and quickly called 911 while Berger located the men and threw them a 100-foot yellow extension cord. Grabbing the cord, the men made it back to their sinking boat and were towed in by Mr. Berger. Mr. Berger and Ms. Etri then brought the men inside, wrapped them in blankets and lit a powerful commercial heater to keep them warm until they were taken to Nassau University Medical Center.

“If Steven Berger and Diane Etri had not come to the aid of these three boys that day, hypothermia would have set in and these boys’ fate would have been dire,” said Legislator Denenberg.