Police officers James Lydon and Anthony Montalbano, RVAC members Jason Parker, Robert Bork and Chief Bill Wilkinson, firefighter Marissa Kess and Capt. Chris Fleischman accept certificates of commendation from the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night, in recognition of their life-saving efforts during an Osborn Avenue house fire July 31. Photo: Peter Blasl

Life-saving heroes were recognized by the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night.

Four town lifeguards were recognized by the Riverhead Town Board Tuesday night for their actions to save people whose boats had capsized in two separate incidents recently off Reeves Beach.

Members of the Riverhead police and fire departments and ambulance corps were recognized for saving a man and his dog from a burning home on Osborn Avenue last month.

Lifeguards Nichole Visintin and Michelle Behr rescued three people from a capsized boat in Long Island Sound off Reeves Beach on July 26. The scenario was repeated on Aug. 6, when another small boat with three people aboard capsized off Reeves Beach, and lifeguards Megan Joseph and Erin Plitt sprung to action. In both cases, the boaters and their crafts were safely brought to shore.

Supervisor Sean Walter and members of the Town Board presented the lifeguards, police officers, firefighters and EMTs with certificates of commendation for their lifesaving efforts.

“They train to save lives,” Supervisor Sean Walter said of the lifeguards and first responders. “And it really is truly a gift a special gift that was bestowed on you to do this. There are people here that are alive today because of what you have done,” he said.

Eric Biegler, vice president of the Sound Park Heights Civic Association in Reeves Park presented the lifeguards with Target gift cards as a “thank you” to them for what they did.

“Sometimes we take for granted, sitting on the beach, not looking at or knowing the lifeguards or even knowing their names,” Biegler said. “Without hesitation, they look after us,” he said.

“Each time, they swam 500 yards out in the water in a fast-moving current to bring in three people. Each time one of the occupants in each boat was my size. And without hesitation, they just jumped right in. We appreciate having them there. This is our way of saying thank you for being there for us and thank you for looking out for us,” Biegler said.


Riverhead Town lifeguards at Reeves Beach saved six people whose boats overturned in two separate incidents this summer. Photo: Peter Blasl
The town board recognized Riverhead Town lifeguards at Reeves Beach for saving six people whose boats overturned in two separate incidents this summer. On hand to receive the certificates Tuesday night: beach manager Bethany Peters, who accepted on behalf of lifeguard Erin Plitt, who could not attend the meeting; lifeguards Nichole Visintin, Megan Joseph and Michelle Behr. Photo: Peter Blasl

The board also presented commendations to Riverhead Town Police officers Anthony Montalbano and James Lydon, Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps Chief Bill Wilkinson and EMT Justin Parker and Riverhead Fire Department volunteer firefighters Marissa Kess and Frank Darrow for the rescue of a man and his dog from a burning home on Osborn Avenue on July 31. Capt. Chris Fleischman of the Reliable Hose and Engine Co. No. 1 accepted the certificate on behalf of Darrow.

Montalbano, Lydon and Wilkinson rescued a sleeping man from his house on fire on Osborn Avenue July 31. They pushed in a window air conditioner and pulled him through the window of his smoke-filled home. Darrow and Kess went into the home to rescue the man’s dog. Parker administered oxygen to the dog.

“You have the privilege of saving people’s lives and you don’t take that lightly,” Walter told the first responders. “Thank you for your actions and for doing what you do every day.”

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