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Police Chief Nominates 3 for Valor Award After ’20 Beach Rescue

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By Press Release

NORTH WILDWOOD – Police Chief Matthew Gallagher nominated a patrolman, a firefighter and a teenage lifeguard for the New Jersey State Association of Chiefs of Police’s (NJSACOP) prestigious Valor Award, for their heroic efforts in a Sept. 29, 2020, ocean rescue.

According to a release, Police Capt. John Stevenson, on behalf of Gallagher, recommended second-year police officer Vincent DeRitis, firefighter Darrick Kobierowski, and lifeguard Gavin Rosenello for risking their lives during a dramatic rescue attempt last fall. The trio is among 33 nominees from nine police departments in line for this year’s Valor Award, to be presented at the 109th NJSACOP’s Annual Conference and Police Security Expo Aug. 23–26, in Atlantic City. 

North Wildwood’s nomination says DeRitis was dispatched to the oceanfront beach for possible multiple drownings off 18th Avenue, near Montego Bay Resort. Without hesitation, DeRitis stripped off his uniform, grabbed a life jacket, and rushed into the rough ocean to rescue a 10-year-old boy. 

DeRitis then swam nearly 150 yards in choppy ocean waters to reach the boy’s unconscious mother. With help from Kobierowski and Rosenello, a 16-year-old lifeguard, the Pennsylvania woman was brought to shore and immediately taken to Cape Regional Medical Center, where she was pronounced dead. 

The nomination says DeRitis “went above and beyond the call of duty,” with Kobierowski and Rosenello each risking their lives without regard for personal safety. 

The NJSACOP established its Valor Award in 2000 to recognize New Jersey police officers and private citizens who demonstrate exceptional heroism and commitment to their profession, their law enforcement agency, and to the public they serve.  

Learn more about the NJSACOP at www.NJSACOP.org. 

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