Branford, North Branford and Guilford firefighters and police officers gathered together with family, friends and local officials Tuesday evening to honor the shoreline community’s bravest and finest.
Some 300 people attended the event — “Honoring Shoreline Heroes” — which was organized by the Branford Exchange Club, and held at the Woodwinds.
From the three towns, a total of 12 individuals were selected to be honored for outstanding professionalism, dedication and commitment to their work as first responders.
“Most of the work you do goes unnoticed,” Robert Aceto, president of the Branford Exchange Club, told the police and fire department members in the audience. “But whenever we need assistance, you are there to help us… you run in when others run out.”
The 2014 Honoring Shoreline Heroes awardees are:
Shaun Heffernan, assistant chief/fire marshall Branford Fire Department
Thomas Mahoney, deputy chief Branford Fire Department
Luigi Amasino, officer Branford Police Department
Paul Perrotti, detective Branford Police Department
Jeffery Larson, firefighter/EMT Guilford Fire Department
John Planas, firefighter Guilford Fire Department
Steven Renchy, sergeant Guilford Police Department
Timothy Bernier, police sergeant Guilford Police Department
Laura L. Burich, firefighter/EMT North Branford Fire Department
Thomas A. Hart Jr., lieutenant North Branford Fire Department
Robert Deko, officer North Branford Police Department
James Lovelace, officer North Branford Police Department
The evening’s keynote speaker Scarlett Lewis, whose six-year-old son Jessie Lewis was among those killed during the Sandy Hook mass shooting two years ago, shared with those gathered how first responders had a supportive and important impact on her life that December day — as well as those that have followed.
“You are heroes in my eyes, all of you, and your families,” Lewis said.
“Compassion is when you actively do something to ease someone else’s pain,” she said. “And I think that that’s the definition of first responders.”
The Guilford Atticus