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Life Saving Awards Given to First Responders and School Staff



Honorees include teachers and Naugatuck Police and Ambulance who saved the life of an unconscious 3rd grader

WATERBURY, May 19, 2022 – Dozens of first responders and some civilians were honored by Waterbury Hospital during the EMS Awards Banquet on Wednesday. Among those honored were teachers, nurses and administrators at Maple Hill Elementary School in Naugatuck who saved the life of third grader Abel Hernandez, Jr. who collapsed in class last month.

Abel and his father Abel Hernandez, Sr. also handed out Life Saving awards to Naugatuck Ambulance and Naugatuck Police officials:

Life Saving Citation – Naugatuck Ambulance

Chery A. Kane, Kristin Charest, Kelly Hogan-Bellerieve, Cindy Rodrigues, Elizabeth Binette, Diane Marino, Kelly Rosikiewicz, Scott Erfe, Patricia Silver, Naugatuck Ambulance Chief Kyle Kelley, Paramedic Ray Beach, EMT Gretchen Carlson; EMT Casey McCraft, EMT Kristen Trzaski, EMT William Shaw, EMT Kristen Bellemare


Life Saving Citation - Naugatuck Police Department 

Sgt. Michael Deely, Officer Mark Robinson, Officer Danielle Durette


Life Saving Citation - Maple Hill Elementary School 

Kristin Charest, R.N., Kelly Hogan-Bellerive, L.P.N., Cindy Rodrigues, Special Education Teacher, Elizabeth Binette, Special Education Teacher, Diane Marino, Paraprofessional, Kelly Rosikiewicz, Paraprofessional, Scott Erfe, Family Liaison, Patricia Silver, Secretary, Cheryl A. Kane, Principal  

There were tears and hugs as the dramatic save was retold on Wednesday. Teachers and school staff sprung into action performing CPR and shocking Abel to life until, first Naugatuck police officers, and then Naugatuck Ambulance providers could take over. Abel was taken to Waterbury Hospital, then at Yale New Haven Hospital. Fully recovered of a cardiac episode, Abel, and his father hugged teachers and first responders.

Also honored on Wednesday were EMS and firefighters from Beacon Hose Company #1and Naugatuck Ambulance who saved the life of a Jailisa Reyes of Bridgeport who was hit by a wrong way driver on Route 8. Her dramatic rescue story and miraculous recovery were retold on Wednesday. Reyes, wearing a leg prosthesis, walked to the stage with her son, to give the award to her rescuers.

Unit Citation:  

Beacon Hose Company #1

Naugatuck Ambulance 


Lifetime Achievement Citation: John Pudlinski, Litchfield, 50 years of Service

Lifetime Achievement Citation: Steven Savage, Northwest Public Safety, 40 years of service


Outstanding Provider Citation: Nicholas Desmarais, Christian Hotchkiss, Christopher Beson, Beacon Hose Company #1


EMS Professional Citation:

Paramedic Colin Radke, American Medical Response

FTO Tara Wheeler, American Medical Response


Organizational Excellence:

Southbury Ambulance Association,

For work on a successful ALS upgrade to better serve the community. 

Naugatuck Ambulance,

For work on a successful reorganization with life saving results to the community.


Organizational Excellence:

For Work on Community COVID-19 vaccination

Naugatuck Fire Department,

Waterbury Fire Department, 

Watertown Fire Department,

Beacon Hose Company #1,

Lichfield Ambulance,

Heritage Village Safety and Security,

About Waterbury HEALTH

Waterbury HEALTH, which includes Waterbury Hospital, Alliance Medical Group, Cardiology Associates of Greater Waterbury, VNA Health at Home and Access Rehab Centers, Greater Waterbury Imaging Center, offers comprehensive healthcare services including primary care, emergency and acute care, and home healthcare. Serving Waterbury and 11 surrounding communities in Western Connecticut, Waterbury HEALTH is a member of Prospect Medical Holdings, Inc., a national family of hospitals and healthcare networks.