ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Every day we hear stories with tragic endings, but on occasion, there is that true heroic tale. Tuesday night was all about recognizing those people who changed the outcome for someone else.
Eleven ordinary people were honored for their extraordinary actions at the Onondaga County Sheriff's Awards Ceremony. The efforts helped save three people from drowning, a toddler from wandering into traffic and a deputy struggling with a suspect.
Also recognized with the Medal of Honor were two deputies who rescued a bed-ridden woman from her burning home. It happened this past June. Sergeant Crayg Dykes and Sergeant Jeremy Young were first on the scene of the fire on Elbow Road in Mattydale.
They fought through smoke and flames to get to a 96-year-old woman. But after getting her out through a small bedroom window, they found themselves trapped inside.
"It got very scary for a while because the window was very small and we tried feet first and didn't really make it, didn't fit. Head first, went back into the bedroom and tried to come up with a plan B. At one point, we just forced ourselves through the window and were able to make it out, thank God," said Dykes.
Two other deputies also received the Medal of Honor Tuesday night for their actions during an apartment fire. The ceremony also included the department's promotions.
Receiving the Sheriff’s Office Civilian Recognition Award:
- Albert Caiella of Liverpool - for providing assistance to a deputy struggling with a suspect.
- Rocco & Suzanne Naples, of Syracuse - for rescuing a drowning victim at a neighbor’s home.
- Micah Scime, of Tonawanda, NY– for rescuing a drowning victim at a local hotel.
- Robert Houde, of Baldwinsville, – for saving a wandering toddler from approaching traffic.
- Donald ,Dakota & Megan Reukauf, of Arcade, NY, - for rescuing a drowning victim on Oneida Lake.
- Ricki Allen, of Kirkville - for actions taken at the scene of a house fire.
- James Smith, of Cicero - for actions taken at the scene of a house fire.
- Kimberly Bonilla, of Cicero - for actions taken at the scene of a house fire.
Receiving the Sheriff’s Office Certificate of Merit:
- Deputy Keith Betsey (50), of Syracuse - for thwarting an inmate suicide.
- Deputy James Hare (40), of Syracuse- for thwarting an inmate suicide.
- Deputy Bradley Jordan (41), of Baldwinsville -for thwarting an inmate suicide.
- Deputy Michael McCarty (54), of Baldwinsville- for actions taken at the scene of a rollover crash.
- Deputy Timothy White (48), of Geddes -for actions taken at the scene of a rollover crash.
Receiving Medals of Distinction:
- Lieutenant James Barrella (50), of Camillus
- Deputy Daniel Grover (posthumously), of Liverpool
- Deputy Fredericka Mendolia (48), of Camillus
- Deputy Jeffery Southard (50), of Nedrow
- Captain Richard Woolley (51), of Parish
Receiving the Medal of Honor:
- Sergeant Crayg Dykes (42), of Cicero – for actions taken at the scene of a house fire
- Deputy Andrew Ecker (38), of Cicero – for actions taken at the scene of an apartment fire.
- Deputy Robert Martin (31), of Central Square – for actions taken at the scene of an apartment fire.
- Sergeant Jeremy Young (32), of Syracuse – for actions taken at the scene of a house fire