For law enforcement officers, saving lives is part of the job. But it is not every day they are recognized for their bravery. Some Wilmington police officers, along with a Good Samaritan, were honored at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting for a job well done.
It was a proud night for the Wilmington Police Department, as five of its members were honored by Mayor Bill Saffo. Three received an award for saving a woman who jumped off the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge the day after Christmas.
Officer Amy Gospodarek, along with detectives Joseph LaChapelle and Andy Lazarro, helped pull the unconscious woman from the water. Harry Rivenbark and his friend were in a boat nearby, which they offered to the officers.
Wilmington Police Chief Ralph Evangelous congratulated Rivenbark by stating, “You are part of the WPD family now, thank you so much.”
Rivenbark received a Citizen Award Tuesday night. “It’s nothing nobody else would do. It’s always good to help,” he said.
“It’s just a nice feeling to know you saved someone, especially that close to Christmas time,” said Officer Amy Gospodarek.
Corporal John Musacchio was awarded with the department’s highest honor, The Medal of Valor, for his bravery responding to an incident in September 2007. “The suspect fired a shot at the fireman and he backed off. At that time I went in and challenged the subject, had him drop his weapon, proceed forward, and at that time detained him,” described Corporal Musacchio.
Officer Justin Ovaska was honored for reviving someone who collapsed in Walmart December 18th, during the department’s annual Santa Cop program.
Without a doubt, it was a very humble group honored Tuesday night. Corporal Musacchio said, “You don’t even think about it. You respond the way your training tells you. You don’t even think, you just do what you were trained to do.”
City Council approves parking lot and Wrightsville Beach dock
Also at Tuesday night’s meeting, Council approved using $750,000 from the city’s parking fund to buy a privately owned parking lot on South Second Street. The lot is next to the Hannah Block USO Building.
The night also marked good news for the Wilmington Fire Department as well. City Council approved an agreement with Wrightsville Beach to build a $60,000, 200-foot dock to house a fire boat. It will be built near the Wrightsville Beach Public Works Department and is expected to cut response times to fires near the Intracoastal.