Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Friday honored a bakery in Bedford-Stuyvesant operated by formerly incarcerated and homeless men, a number of police officers who saved victims on the brink of death in Fort Greene and Williamsburg, as well as a principal enriching her students with special needs in Sheepshead Bay.
During a ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall, a diverse array of outstanding individuals was named as Adams’ latest “Heroes of the Month.”
The list of recipients included workers at Dishes by Doe; New York City Police Department (NYPD) Officer Christopher O’Neill of the 88th Precinct; PS 811 Connie Lekas School Principal Antoinette Rose; as well as NYPD Officers Michael Brady, Christopher Garcia, Arsalan Sulaiman, and Brett Telesford of Transit District 33.
All honorees were present — many with their family, friends and colleagues — to share their stories and to formally be recognized by Adams.
“Our latest ‘Heroes of the Month’ reflect the diversity of our borough, as well as the depths of bravery, kindness, and tenacity that exist in everyday Brooklynites,” Adams said. “This ceremony has the formerly incarcerated being honored next to New York’s Finest; that’s what this initiative is all about, bringing good people that do good things together.”
Adams said that his “Heroes of the Month” for July were the men behind Dishes by Doe, a bakery in Bedford-Stuyvesant staffed by formerly incarcerated and homeless men as part of the culinary arts program in The Doe Fund’s Ready, Willing & Able transitional work program.
All culinary arts trainees learn the basics of baking, as part of a broad culinary education, and some choose to specialize in it, Adams said.
On graduating from Ready, Willing & Able, some bakers are hired as Doe Fund employees, and others go on to work in bakeries and restaurants throughout New York City, Adams said.
“Borough President Adams shows tremendous commitment to fostering a vibrant, vital borough for everyone,” said George McDonald, founder and president of The Doe Fund. “Our bakery team’s hard work and dedication — to bettering themselves, each other, and this community — represents the best of what this city is all about. We are so proud and grateful to be honored by Borough President Adams.”
Officer O’Neill, a rookie cop who served two years as a United States Navy combat medic in Afghanistan and saved the life of a knife fight victim in Fort Greene who was bleeding out from a severed arm artery, was named August’s “Hero of the Month” by Adams.
On Saturday, Aug. 13, O’Neill encountered the 36-year-old victim on Carlton Avenue, upon which he rushed to his patrol car and grabbed the trauma kit from his trunk.
The tourniquet that Officer O’Neill applied saved the bleeding man’s life, Adams said.
He said O’Neill stayed with the victim until EMS arrived.
“I want to thank Borough President Adams for this acknowledgment,” said NYPD Captain John Buttacavoli, commanding officer of the 88th Precinct. “I can’t say enough about [Officer O’Neill]. He comes into work every day with this attitude…that he’s just here to serve.”
Adams named Principal Rose, an educator in Sheepshead Bay who has enriched her students with special needs through annual summer block parties — this year’s celebrating the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro — as September’s “Hero of the Month.”
Five years ago, she started the initiative as a celebration of all of her students’ hard work during the summer months — and as one last hoorah before the school year began again in the fall. Hundreds of students, ages 12 to 21, have participated in these special gatherings, Adams said.
“I’d like to thank Borough President Adams for always looking out for my students,” said Principal Rose. “I mostly want to thank my students, because they are the reason I do what I do every day. District 75 serves the neediest New Yorkers, our students with special needs. We must provide them with access, we must provide safety for them, and we must provide them with a quality education. At my school, that is what I strive to do with my staff daily.”
The quartet of Officers Brady, Garcia, Sulaiman, and Telesford, all of whom helped to revive an unconscious man with no pulse inside the Marcy Avenue subway station in Williamsburg, earned October’s “Heroes of the Month” honors from Borough President Adams.
On Thursday, Oct. 6, Officers Brady and Sulaiman were conducting patrol at the Marcy Avenue station when they observed a 60-year-old male enter through the turnstile area and collapse.
The officers immediately began to render aid to the individual and determined that he had no pulse and was not breathing. Officer
Sulaiman initiated CPR as Officer Brady secured the scene and requested the response of EMS and a unit with a defibrillator.
Officers Garcia and Telesford immediately responded to the request for assistance, Adams said.
Due to an earlier track fire and suspension of service along the L subway line, traffic in the area was unusually heavy, he said.
Realizing the urgency of the situation, Officers Garcia and Telesford parked their vehicle, retrieved the defibrillator, and ran two blocks to the station past the responding ambulance, which was also stuck in traffic.
Once on the scene, the four officers worked together with an unidentified Good Samaritan and continued to perform CPR while utilizing the defibrillator two times before the victim regained consciousness.
Officer Brady then responded down to the street level and began to direct traffic, which allowed the ambulance to quickly remove the victim to Mount Sinai Beth Israel, where he was stabilized, Adams said.
“Any day you start your day, you don’t know what you are going to face,” Adams said. “I don’t know that people realize ‘New York’s Finest’ is not a term that’s just thrown around. The heroes that we’re acknowledging here truly personify that.”