Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Wednesday, Oct. 14 paid tribute to a firefighter who saved an unconscious two-year-old during an early morning fire in Marine Park, as well as a not-profit organization in Borough Park which distributed more than 3,000 free hot meals last month to needy patients in hospitals across Brooklyn.
New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Lt. Victor Milukas, of Ladder Company 159 in the Flatlands, Brooklyn, was declared “Hero of the Month” for August in honor of his courage under fire.
Adams also honored volunteer members of Borough Park-based Yad Ephraim in honor of their commitment to the less fortunate.
The honors are a continuation of Adams’s monthly “Hero of the Month” events honoring the accomplishments of Brooklynites from all walks of life.
“When someone goes beyond the call of duty in serving their community, I think it’s important that we acknowledge them and hold them up as the bright stars that shine the way forward for our borough,” Adams said.
“The stories of Lt. Milukas and Yad Ephraim are proof positive of angels on Earth, ordinary people that do extraordinary things,” he added. “I applaud our latest ‘Heroes of the Month,’ and I hope that they serve as enduring examples of good for all Brooklynites.”
On Aug.24, the FDNY received numerous calls for a house on fire on Avenue P in Marine Park.
Minutes later, firefighters, including those from Ladder Company 159, arrived to find neighbors on the block reporting that a child was trapped inside.
Adams said Lt. Milukas headed to the second floor, where he searched multiple smoke-filled bedrooms and ultimately found one bedroom fully engulfed in flames.
Milukas called for additional firefighters to bring water to the fire in order for him to perform a search.
In zero visibility, he found bunk beds, indicating that this was the child’s room, Adams said.
He said Milukas continued searching until he found unconscious two-year-old Justin Pierre, after which he quickly removed the young boy and brought him to firefighters and EMTs, who transported him to the hospital.
Adams said it was the second rescue of Lt. Milukas’s career. He had previously rescued an adult from a fire in Queens, when he was a member of Ladder Company 142 in Ozone Park.
“We don’t do our job this way to be honored; it’s just something we have a calling for,” Milukas said. “Most of the time, events are tragic; this is one time that is just amazing.
“It changed my life; and, for most people that I know that were there, it changed theirs,” he added. “This is just another good day for the Fire Department, and I’d like to thank Borough President Adams for this honor.”
Adams said the volunteer members of Yad Ephraim work to ease the pain and suffering of patients in hospitals throughout Brooklyn.
He said members donate their time on a 24-7 basis to ease the burden of the sick and the suffering.
In addition to free hot food programs, volunteers visit patients in hospital rooms every day, offering a listening ear, a warm meal, or sometimes simply their presence to help pass the time more pleasantly, Adams said.
Last month, in time for the Jewish High Holiday season, Adams said Yad Ephraim distributed over 3,000 free hot meals to patients and their families.
Additionally, the group organizes blood drives, as well as offers prayer services and sleepover accommodations.
“Yad Ephraim is an organization that is a parachute and a lifesaver for the communities of Borough Park and Flatbush,” said Yumi Kleinbart, a board member of Yad Ephraim. “Volunteers of Yad Ephraim are there, giving chicken soup for the soul or a freshly cooked meal, all cooked in their own kitchens.”