As a nurse who’d worked the ER at Hackensack University Medical Center, Adriana Riano never thought she would be the one needing to call 911. That changed in April 2016, when Riano was involved in a collision with a tractor trailer on the NJ Turnpike. She had an open ankle fracture, internal bleeding, and a broken pinky.
At the April 25 Secaucus Town Council meeting, Meadowlands Hospital honored the two EMTs who responded to the crash and saved Riano’s life. For Frank Browne and Eli Nathan, that may have been another day on the job. But for Riano, who has fully recovered from her injuries, they went above their call of duty.
“You’ve probably been a pain the last five months.” – Kevin Flaherty
“I am very lucky and grateful to be even here today, speaking about it,” Riano, who was returning home from a 14-hour shift at the time, said about the men, who received life-saving awards at the meeting.
Miraculously, Riano never lost consciousness throughout the entire ordeal, due partially to the EMTs constantly speaking with her to prevent her from going into shock. Arriving police officers at the scene instructed Riano to pull over to the highway’s shoulder, where Bowne and Nathan provided assistance.
She added, “Eli and Frank were the most amazing, behind-the-scenes key players. My leg was in a completely different direction, and barely hanging on. But they were so professional. They were able to safely get me from the vehicle onto the stretcher and inside the truck. These men were really angels that night.”
Police officers promoted
The EMTs weren’t the only municipal workers honored at the meeting. Police Officers Austin Hawxhurst, Martin Moreda, and Christopher Doxbeck received promotions to lieutenant. Officers Peter Garass and Giacomo Sallustio were promoted to sergeant.
Police Chief Kevin Flaherty apologized to the wives and families of the men, noting how they had to study for highly competitive exams for the promotions after already working their shifts. “They scored tops of the department, and that’s why they’re here,” Flaherty said. “So my first order of the day, as in tradition with any police, you are all ordered to take your families out to a nice dinner and treat them well, because you’ve probably been a pain the last five months.”
The council held a public hearing on the town’s planned 2017 $54.7 million budget at the meeting, though no residents commented on it.
The council will hold a final hearing and vote on the spending plan at their public meeting on May 9.
Taekwondo champs honored
Secaucus Martial Arts students also received honors, having won the 2017 New Jersey State Taekwondo Association State Championships. Eleven competitors from the school won nine medals in the competition, including six gold ones, two bronze, and one silver.
“They did an amazing job,” said Master Jefferson Ventura, shortly before the meeting began. As a result of their successes, the students will compete at the national championships in Detroit, running from June 29 through July 6. The students also presented Mayor Michael Gonnelli with his own honorary black belt.
Other matters and upcoming events
The Secaucus Police Department initiated a total of 100 patrol hours, made 183 total stops, and issued 106 summonses during National Distracted Driving Awareness month, according to a committee report from Councilman John Gerbasio. Of those summonses, 93 were cell phone violations. This is the most summonses the department has ever issued in its three years participating in the program, Gerbasio added.
Remax Reality will be hosting its third annual “Help me find my forever” pet adoption event at the Harmon Cove Clubhouse, May 21, from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature a live DJ, food trucks, a bouncehouse for children, and appearances from players for the New York Giants and Jets. Call 201-330-2000 for more information.
The town’s annual fishing derby will take place at Duck Pond, located at Metro Way, May 6, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Registration will happen from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Contact the town at 201-330-2000 for more information.
On that same day, the Secaucus High School marching band will be sponsoring a car wash at the North End Firehouse, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The charge per car is $5.
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