North Bergen honors teen’s heroism

Amid Hurricane Ida, Julian Munoz, 19, potentially saved multiple lives

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Officials present the framed proclamation to Munoz on Oct. 6. Photo by Art Schwartz
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The Munoz family
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Munoz humbly accepted the honor.
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Officials present the framed proclamation to Munoz on Oct. 6. Photo by Art Schwartz
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The Munoz family
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Munoz humbly accepted the honor.

The North Bergen Board of Commissioners has honored a local teen who rescued a woman from flood waters during Hurricane Ida.

The commissioners voted unanimously to adopt a proclamation honoring Julian Munoz, 19, for his heroism. The proclamation was read aloud by Mayor Nicholas Sacco at the Oct. 6 meeting.

Lifeguard on duty

During the storm, Munoz received a call from his grandfather that his home was flooding, and quickly left to help. Due to the severity of the storm, Munoz had to abandon his own car, which became submerged; he waded the rest of the way.

While en route, Munoz heard the cries of an elderly woman trapped in her car, with water up to the steering wheel and almost up to her neck. He risked his own life to rescue the woman.

Munoz waded into the water, put the woman on his back, and carried her to safety, probably saving her life.

Munoz did not stop there. When he got to his grandparents’ house, water was almost up to the ceiling, but he saved them.

At 19, Munoz had just graduated with North Bergen High School Class of 2020 and is currently attending Montclair University studying exercise science. His rescue skills are a result of his years as a lifeguard at the municipal pool.

Recognizing a Good Samaritan

“I and the board recognize with respect and gratitude, the quick response and heroic actions from Julian,” Sacco said, reading the resolution. “His heroic efforts are commendable and serve as a testament to the value which we place on human life and to the unselfish actions which continue to enrich North Bergen’s community.”

Commissioner Julio Morenco brought the rescues to the attention of the commissioners and Sacco, who were proud to honor Munoz.

“I saw it on one of the social media sites,” Morenco said. “You see Julian gets out of the car, picks one person up, puts them on his back and he swims across and gets the lady to safety… Julian is a great example of Commissioner Hugo Cabrera’s swimming pool program put in years ago.”

“Well done,” Commissioner Allen Pascual said. “He’s one of our trained lifeguards through the recreation department. It’s impressive. I’m glad you were where you were.”

Sacco asked Munoz if he ever had to save someone while at the pool. The answer was no.

“First and foremost, I’d like to thank the mayor and commissioners for having this,” Munoz said. “I want to thank God for allowing me to be able to help that lady when she needed to be. And thank you to everyone for coming out.”

For updates on this and other stories, check www.hudsonreporter.com and follow us on Twitter @hudson_reporter. Daniel Israel can be reached at disrael@hudsonreporter.com.