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Mayor Honors Firefighters For Life-Saving Efforts

OSWEGO, NY – Mayor Tom Gillen presented a certification of appreciation to the members of the Oswego Fire Department at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

Chief Jeff McCrobie and five firefighters were recognized for rescuing Aaron Matthews after he had been swept off the breakwall into Lake Ontario on Feb. 6.

Mayor Tom Gillen, right, poses with members of the fire department honored Tuesday night for saving an 18-year-old college student from the cold waters of Lake Ontario last week.
Mayor Tom Gillen, right, poses with members of the fire department honored Tuesday night for saving an 18-year-old college student from the cold waters of Lake Ontario last week.

Gillen also cited the Oswego Police Department and Coast Guard for their parts in the rescue effort.

“Their actions helped prevent a tragedy,” the mayor said.

Matthews, 18, of Syracuse, and a freshman biology and psychology student at SUNY Oswego, went out on the breakwall in search of his wallet, which he thought he lost there the previous day.

“I am more than elated to be alive,” Matthews told Oswego County Today contributing writer Andrew Kunkel. “Thank you to the first response teams such as the Oswego fire department, Coast Guard, paramedics and those at Oswego Hospital for helping me.”

“After I fell in, I realized that I am not an exception to nature, as most individuals think – ‘Oh I will never get into an accident … Oh that would never happen to me, etc.’ I realized at that moment anything is possible and I should be much more careful next time. if I go out,” Matthews continued.

Matthews never made it to the lighthouse, and didn’t find his wallet.

He does have advice for any potential breakwall walkers: “Don’t go out when the weather may be questionable. You can never be too safe.”

“On behalf of the Common Council and the Oswego community, I hereby present these outstanding citizens with a certificate of appreciation and recognition of their outstanding performance in the line of duty,” the mayor said as he congratulated each man individually.