A Greek-American police officer has been hailed as a hero after he saved a Greek-speaking teenager who fell through ice.
Officer Constantine Saoulis came to the rescue of the 16-year-old last month after the youth had gone out on the ice in the Little Neck Bay area of Long Island.
The teen went through the flimsy ice sheet and it was only quick thinking by Saoulis, who shouted at the teenager in Greek to remain calm, which prevented the victim from panicking and going under.
Saoulis then dived into the freezing water and pulled the teen out.
111th Precinct Deputy Inspector William McBride said Saoulis – a 35-year-old father of three – had been awarded the ‘Cop of the Month’ title for his quick thinking and brave actions.
McBride told a NYPD Community Council meeting: “I have been attending the 111th Community Council meetings for 37 years… This was the first time I heard of an NYPD officer being a capable swimmer, like a lifeguard, saving a drowning youth.”
Saoulis, who is originally from the Ionian island of Cephalonia, said: “I almost didn’t make it.”
“I saw a young boy like my son. I felt I had to save him,” he added.
However, it is all in a day’s work for Officer Saoulis, who is also a former New York City educator with two master’s degrees in Education and Special Education.
“My education background motivated me to be a police officer,” he said.