State Sen. Jim Tedisco, R-Glenville, presented the New York State Senate Liberty Medal to five people, including four Saratoga County Department of Public Work employees, who recently saved a Mayfield snowmobiler from drowning on the Great Sacandaga Lake.
The medal is the state Senate’s highest honor.
On Jan.31, Jeff Gray, one of the rescuers, was home sick when he spotted Ed Fitzgerald of Mayfield on his snowmobile heading for the Conklingville Dam.
Gray said knew something was wrong when Fitzgerald’s snowmobile did not swing back around. After walking outside to assess the situation, Gray and his wife spotted their neighbor Jerry McGraw attempting to throw a rope to Fitzgerald.
Gray located a neighbor’s boat to assist in the rescue. During that time, Gray’s co-workers at the DPW, Robert Crist, Preston Allen Jr., and Aaron Colvin, arrived after hearing the distress call.
Allen then began to break up the ice with his bare hands, while Crist used a two-by-four he found on the shore as an oar to paddle out to Fitzgerald.
The others remained on shore holding a rope tied to the boat. Allen then pulled Fitzgerald from the ice-cold water after he was in the lake for about 30 to 40 minutes. Fitzgerald was rushed to Glens Falls Hospital hospital and released the next day.
“Not all superheroes wear capes," Tedisco said on Monday. "Some are dedicated DPW workers and caring neighbors who leaped to action, putting their own personal safety at risk to save the life of another.
"Saratoga County DPW workers Preston Allen, Jr., Aaron Colvin, Robert Crist and Jeff Gray and neighbor Jerry McGraw are real superheroes who demonstrated their compassion and valor in their courageous efforts to save the life of snowmobiler Ed Fitzgerald who was drowning in the Great Sacandaga Lake. I often say, all good things emanate from the 49th Senate District, and these fine individuals exemplify that and are truly positive role models for all to emulate."
The DPW workers were previously honored by Saratoga County.