Several "ordinary" citizens, along with a police officer, were recognized by the Board of Selectmen Wednesday for being extraordinary -- a quality that has won them recognition from the American Red Cross.
The five Fairfielders named Red Cross Community Heroes include a trio of shoreline neighbors who helped rescue four young swimmers struggling in a swift moving tide near Penfield Reef, while Officer Scott Sudora and local business owner Bob Trez prevented cardiac arrest from taking the life of Trez's friend.
"This is something near and dear to my heart," First Selectman Michael Tetreau said. Tetreau said he's been a CPR instructor, board member and chairman of the local Red Cross chapter. "When we talk about making a community better, there's no better example than this."
Fairfield Beach Road neighbors Paige Herman, Bryan Cafferelli and Eric Barthel received the Red Cross award for water safety. Herman was on her porch last July when she heard screams and saw youngsters struggling in the water. She ran down to the beach and alerted Barthel who was swimming nearby with his family.
Barthel swam to the children, and was able to get the first three, all about 12 or 13 years old, to safety. As he was trying to help youngest, a boy of about 6 or 7, he began to tire himself and a third neighbor, Cafferelli, arrived on the scene in his kayak and took the boy aboard while giving Barthel a life jacket.
For Trez, the owner of Penfield Service Center, his heroic moment began when a friend collapsed in a chair. Trez called "911" and began administering CPR, and Sudora headed to the site and took over the CPR until the ambulance arrived. Trez's friend made a complete recovery.
The five were given certificates of appreciation from the town.
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