Hero Fund President Eric Zahren presented the Carnegie Medal to Carnegie Hero Arcangelo F. Liberatore during a July 19, 2019, ceremony at the Irvington (N.Y.) Town Hall.

Irvington Police Officer Liberatore was off-duty when a rabid coyote approached then-5-year-old Natalia, who was playing in a park with her brother and mother. The coyote bit her arm, latching onto it, and dragged her to the ground, where her mother attempted to fight it off. Liberatore ran to Natalia, grabbed the coyote, and pinned it to the ground. It released Natalia, whose mother took her to safety. Liberatore struggled to restrain the aggressive coyote, which attempted to bite him for several minutes. Police arrived and shot and killed the coyote. A bite wound to Natalia’s arm required sutures. Liberatore sustained scratches to his hand. Both of them were treated for rabies and recovered.

“It’s been proven widely that many people believe in guardian angels in this world. I think we’re misdirected if we look to the sky for them, because they may be standing right next to us,” Zahren said. “In this case, how fitting a name Arcangelo Liberatore, ‘archangel liberator.’ What a great name for you to have and to pass along. I don’t know with that name if you could grow up to be anything other than heroic.”

Liberatore’s police Chief Michael Cerone, Irvington Mayor Brian Smith, and Mount Pleasant (N.Y.) Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi also lauded Liberatore’s actions in behalf of Natalia, who attended with her mother and has become great friends with Liberatore’s daughter, Annabelle.


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