Rescued swimmer joins in honoring first responders

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AVON-BY-THE-SEA — At the last board of commissioners meeting retiring Borough Administrator and Clerk Timothy Gallagher would preside over, he, along with Avon-By-The-Sea Patrolman John Riley and three good samaritans, were honored for their efforts in saving the lives of two swimmers on June 12.

Mr. Gallagher, Patrolman Riley, Bill Bing, Brendan Duffy and Stephen Skribner were awarded with proclamations from Assemblyman Sean Kean and Freeholder Gary Rich at the board of commissioners meeting Monday night in the Avon Municipal Gym in front of  more than 100 people.

On June 12, at approximately 4:21 p.m., the Avon Police Department responded to a report of a swimmer in distress. With no lifeguards on duty prior to the summer season, three local residents responded to the screams of Nisha Desai, 21, and Perle Desir, 21, of Linden.

The three good samaritans — Mr. Skribner, Mr.  Bing, and Mr. Duffy, were able to come to the swimmers’ aid, first pulling in Ms. Desai and next using a boogie board to carry Ms. Desir to shore.

Patrolman Riley, with the ANSWER [Area Network of Shore Water Emergency Responders] team met the men in shallow waters to assist, and CPR was commenced immediately on Ms. Desir by Mr. Gallagher.

Ms. Desir was also in attendance on Monday night, surprising Mr. Gallagher and the other rescuers. She was met with a standing ovation as she made her way from the back of the gym to the podium.

“I want to thank you all, especially Tim and John, for being first responders who did the most to revive me. They are the reason I am alive today,” said Ms. Desir.

For more on this story, read The Coast Star—on newsstands Thursday or online in our e-Edition.