FDNY's Second Chance Ceremony reunites survivors with first responders who saved them

Thursday, May 23, 2024
FDNY reunites survivors with heroes who helped save them
Kemberly Richardson has more on the FDNY's Second Chance Ceremony.

RED HOOK, Brooklyn (WABC) -- A gathering was held Thursday in Red Hook, Brooklyn by eight New Yorkers, and the first responders who saved them.

It was the FDNY's 28th annual Second Chance Ceremony, a celebration of gratitude, and a heartfelt "thank you" to the men and women who save people from dying.

"To actually meet somebody who I witnessed their heart stop and come back... is mind blowing," said EMT Lt. Sencia Datilus.

It was a moment filled with mixed emotion. While it was literally a celebration of life, it also brought folks back to what were near-death experiences, when minutes mattered.

"I fell on my face and I don't know what happened after that, the next day I remember waking up in the hospital," said former patient Dylan Garcia.

Garcia was 12 years old when he suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed at school.

Lt. Ricardo Otero was right there when it happened, and is happy to be able stand next to Garcia again, who is now 14 years old.

"We don't really look for gratification, but we feel it within ourselves and know we were able to take him to the hospital and we had a pulse on him is an amazing feeling," Otero said.

This group has one thing in common: they are survivors, who for the first time since nearly dying, are seeing the teams who saved them.

During the FDNY's Second Chance Ceremony, you hear stories of grit and determination.

On the Verrazano Bridge, Yi-Joo Kwon was running the New York City Marathon when he collapsed.

EMT's were able to resuscitate Wilfredo Ruiz in his home after nearly 20 minutes. A friend initially jumped in and started CPR, which turned out to be a crucial move. Because of what happened, Ruiz's daughter wants to be a paramedic.

"She's really into it and that makes me more happy," he said.

This is about celebrating the wins and what lies ahead.

"I want to be an electrical engineer," Garcia said.


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