Bay Ridge Community Council honors local cop and firefighter

A sergeant from the 68th Precinct, a firefighter from local Ladder Company 114 and an auxiliary police officer attached to the 68th Precinct were in the spotlight, on Tuesday, April 24, as the Bay Ridge Community Council (BRCC) paid tribute to them for their exemplary performance.

Gathered in the auditorium of Our Lady of Angels School, Fourth Avenue and 74th Street, BRCC members gave standing ovations to Firefighter Kevin Hogan, Sergeant Joseph Nicotra and Auxiliary P.O. Vadim Gerasimov, who have dedicated themselves to protecting area residents.

Hogan was honored for saving six civilians, four of them unconscious, from a fire on 61st Street near Fifth Avenue in March, 2011, making three trips into the burning building to perform the rescues. “It’s not often that a firefighter makes a rescue of an unconscious person and extremely rare when he makes multiple rescues,” explained Jane Kelly, chairperson of BRCC’s Police & Fire Awards Committee which holds the award ceremony annually.

One of the women rescued by Hogan was pregnant, said Captain Michael Dunn, who said that when she gave birth a couple of days later to a baby boy, she had named him Kevin in honor of her rescuer. “He represents the finest members of Ladder 114,” Dunn stressed.

Nicotra was honored for his achievements over his nearly 13-year career with the NYPD. “He has shown an extraordinary amount of leadership, exhibited superior abilities in solving major crimes and for improving the quality of life conditions within the 68th Precinct,” said Kelly, pointing out that Nicotra “has been part of or supervised approximately 400 arrests in his career.”

As for Gerasimov, who immigrated to the U.S. from Russia in 1999, Kelly said that he had volunteered more than 1,400 hours since joining the Auxiliary Police in March, 2007.

While he first saw joining the Auxiliaries, “as a way of making a career within the NYPD,” she said, “unfortunately, by the time he became a U.S. citizen, he was already over the age requirement.” Nonetheless, Kelly said, “his love for the NYPD, the Auxiliary Police program and New York City prompted him to continue serving our community.”

Both Nicotra and Gerasimov were well-deserving of the tribute, said Captain Richard DiBlasio, the 68th Precinct’s commanding officer, noting that recognition by the community for their efforts, “is the best award you can get.”

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