Friday, October 7, 2022

Town of Newburgh Life-Saver Awarded Liberty Medal

Heroic Balmville Elementary School Security Officer Hector Almodovar, Jr. was presented with the Liberty Medal by New York State Senator James Skoufis today.

The Liberty Medal is the highest civilian honor that a resident can receive from New York State, and is awarded to individuals for exceptional, heroic, life-saving acts. For Almodovar, his immediate impulse to perform the Heimlich maneuver on a choking student saved the young girl’s life.  

In April, Mr. Almodovar was monitoring the lunch meal at Balmville School in the Newburgh Enlarged City School District when he saw then-fifth grader Ariana Miranda begin to choke while eating an orange. Almodovar responded immediately, performing the Heimlich maneuver three times, which quickly resolved what could have been a heartbreaking situation; no other adults in the room knew how to administer the Heimlich. 

“As a 25-year veteran of the NYPD, Hector has clearly demonstrated a lifelong commitment to safety, and the entire Newburgh community is grateful for his swift action,” said Skoufis. “Ariana is now a vibrant sixth grader with a bright future ahead of her. Had Hector not been staffing the cafeteria when he was, this situation could have ended in terror. I am honored to present him with this Liberty Medal on behalf of New York State in recognition of his going above and beyond to save Ariana’s life.” 

“I am honored to accept this award,” noted Almodovar. “I thank God that Ariana is happy and safe. It happened so fast. Even before this happened, I considered Ariana a part of my family and I treat all of Balmville’s students as if they were my own. I’m just glad everything worked out.”

To award a Liberty Medal, the Senator must pursue a months-long application process and receive personal approval by the Senate Majority Leader.

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