November 19, 2015
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today presented two certificates of recognition to Correction Officer Daniel Leites and FDNY Lieutenant Adam Vilagos, both of whom heroically saved the lives of others. Officer Leites was commended for preventing a woman with Alzheimer’s – who had previously been reported missing – from being struck by a car and subsequently helping her reunite with her family. Lieutenant Vilagos was commended for rescuing a baby from an attic during a fire, ensuring the baby’s safety, and then immediately turning back to continue to fight the flames.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, we honor Offier Leites and Lieutenant Vilagos, who went above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of others,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The heroic and selfless actions of these outstanding public servants truly exemplify the spirit of New York’s Boldest and New York’s Bravest. We thank them not just for these acts of heroism, but for serving New Yorkers each and every day. “
Three days ago, Officer Daniel Leites, a four-year veteran of DOC stationed on Rikers, was off duty in Queens when he spotted a woman wandering aimlessly on Woodhaven Boulevard. His instincts and training told him something was awry – and when he saw the woman walk into oncoming traffic, he instantly threw himself in front of her, into harm’s way, saving her life. Officer Leites noticed her medical alert bracelet and realized she had Alzheimer’s. He immediately dialed the number listed, spoke to her family, and learned that she had been reported missing. As Officer Leites waited for her family to arrive, couldn’t resist one more act of kindness – he bought her a burger and gave her his sweater.
Two days ago, an all-hands fire broke out in Corona, Queens. FDNY Engine Company 316 was on the scene within four minutes. Lieutenant Adam Vilagos, an 18-year FDNY veteran, was sprinting up the stairs of the burning home when he heard someone call out, “There’s a baby in the attic.” Even though the attic was filled with thick black smoke and Lieutenant Vilagos could barely see, he found the three-week-old baby within moments and carried him outside to safety. Lieutenant Vilagos handed the infant to a fellow first responder and immediately turned around and ran back to the burning house to finish putting out the fire.