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Borough Prez Honors Brooklyn’s Latest Heroes of the Month

A pair of police officers, a deputy inspector-turned-good Samaritan and a charitable Carroll Gardens restaurant were the last of Borough President Eric Adams’ “Heroes of the Month” for 2018.

Adams on Thurs., Dec. 27 honored Brooklyn’s latest “Heroes” for the months of October, November and December during a ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall.

For the month of October, NYPD Officers Charles Edwards and Damion Graham, based out of Transit District 30, were rewarded for their heroic act of saving a one-year-old baby who stopped breathing while traveling with his parents on a downtown C train in October.

According to Adams, Edwards and Graham immediately responded to the scene following a 911 call. Upon arrival, Edwards took the child into his arms and performed CPR while Graham assisted and readied to transport the baby to the nearest hospital instead of waiting for an ambulance to arrive.

This particular case was special to Adams who, when he was a state senator, championed Briana’s Law, which today ensures all NYPD officers are trained in CPR.

“Cases like this are proof positive that these first responders are often in the best position to be the life savers we need,” Adams said. “Brooklynites join together in extending thanks for the quick-thinking response and compassionate effort these officers demonstrated in saving the life of this child.”

For the month of November, Adams honored NYPD Deputy Inspector Joseph Seminara, who in late November, helped another good Samaritan rescue a woman trapped inside a burning car on the Belt Parkway in Canarsie.

Seminara was driving home from a 14-hour tour as commanding officer of the 23rd Precinct when he came upon a two-vehicle wreck with both vessels ablaze. When bystanders told him that a woman was trapped in one of the cars and could not get out, a deputy inspector, attempted to get 30-year-old Rhonda Alexander out through the driver’s door.

It was at that point that he realized that the door, damaged from the accident, would not open.

While the flames engulfed the car, Adams said, Seminara got in through the passenger door, but still had trouble evacuating the victim, at which point an anonymous motorist jumped into the fray and assisted him in removing the woman from the burning car.

“As a former precinct commander, I know the duties of managing a precinct can be wearing and draining, yet Deputy Inspector Seminara sprinted into action, knowing there was a life at stake,” said Adams. “We are proud and fortunate to have such devoted heroes among the ranks of the NYPD.”

For December, Adams awarded non-profit restaurant in Carroll Gardens Emma’s Torch, 345 Smith St., which empowers refugees and survivors of human trafficking to build new lives through the culinary arts.

Named after Emma Lazarus, who wrote the poem etched on the Statue of Liberty, the restaurant’s student chefs work to prepare meals while receiving eight weeks of paid apprenticeship training, English language classes and job placement services.

In 2017, 100 percent of their graduates were placed in full-time culinary jobs. Earlier this month, it was announced that the social enterprise will operate the concession program at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch starting in February.

“We’re a nation of immigrants,” said Adams. “Emma’s Torch personifies what’s great about this country and what’s great about giving back and allowing people to find hope and prosperity in the greatest country alive.”

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