First responders showed up en masse to show their support for longtime Brookhaven (N.Y.) firefighter Peter C. Di Pinto, Sr., center, who was presented the Carnegie Medal by Hero Fund President Eric P. Zahren, left of center, before the Brookhaven town board meeting on July 29, 2019.
“We use this time right before the town board meetings to honor and recognize special people who accomplish great things,” said Michael Loguerico, Brookhaven’s district 4 councilman. “We have a great leader. A member of Brookhaven Fire Department who did a very heroic thing.”
Firefighters from Di Pinto’s department, in addition nearby Mastic, Medford, and Ridge hamlets, as well as personnel from South Country Ambulance attended the ceremony, and Di Pinto’s family. Both of his sons are also members of the Brookhaven Fire Department.
“It’s great to see so many people here to honor our awardee today, especially all the first-responders. We all know you put your life on the line for us, and we thank you every day for it,” said Zahren.
Di Pinto, a retired teacher of Brookhaven, saved a woman from being struck by a train Oct. 10, 2017, near his home. The woman, 43, was driving a van when it collided with another vehicle and came to rest straddling a nearby railroad track. Di Pinto heard the crash from nearby and responded. He ran to the driver’s door of the van, which was smashed and told the dazed woman that she needed to exit. Suddenly the crossing’s gates descended and lights flashed warning them of the approaching commuter train, traveling at 65 m.p.h. Di Pinto ran to the passenger side of the van, opened the front, passenger door, reached in, and grasped the woman. Di Pinto pulled her through the door and moved her off the track to safety behind a signal box. The train, which had slightly slowed, struck the van about six seconds after Di Pinto had removed her.
“We’ve recognized over 10,000 heroes. Each and every one of them is special and should remind us of the good within all of us, of our capacity for good when we listen to our better angels and act in behalf of another human being in disregard for our own safety,” Zahren said. “Peter Di Pinto certainly embodies Carnegie’s ideal, the very best in human nature.”