A brave man, a life saved

Patchogue resident went beyond normal duties to save a man from drowning in the bay

On normal days, Victor Smith, a bridge operator at Smith Point County Park, hears lots of yelling from various people crossing the bridge. But last week, he heard something a bit different that spurred him into action.

While working a shift last Monday, Smith, of Patchogue, heard yelling from below. What was different this time, he said, was the echo he heard from underneath the bridge — it was a person yelling, “help!” Moving from his post atop the watchtower, he went down under the bridge and climbed down the ladder, which reaches right above the water. The man swam over to Smith, who pulled him out of the water. During that time, Smith was also able to call for an ambulance, and flagged down park rangers to help.

Joined by his family — wife Emily and children Kailey, Olivia and Carter — Smith was honored by Suffolk County executive Steve Bellone and Legis. Rudy Sunderman for his efforts.

“Because of his alertness and his commitment to duty and his responsibility, [Smith] literally helped to save someone’s life,” Bellone said.

Sunderman, a first responder from the Mastic Fire Department, said he received a call about Smith’s work and wanted to find out who he was and congratulate him. He acknowledged that often times it means being in the right place at the right time.

“Being in the right place helped save someone’s life,” Sunderman added.

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