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Captain Steve Cluett recieves the New York State Senate “Liberty Award”
from Senator Kenneth P. LaValle

Dennis Lynch, on behalf of John Jay LaValle, Supervisor of the Town of Brookhaven,
presents Captain Cluett with the Certificate of Heroic Merit declaring
March 8, 2001 Captain Steve Cluett Day in the Town of Brookhaven.

Jeanne Garant, Mayor of the Village of Port Jefferson,
presents the Mayor’s Citation to Captain Cluett





(Port Jefferson) – Senator Kenneth P. LaValle (R,C,I – First Senatorial District) today honored Captain Stephen Cluett with the New York State Senate “Liberty Award” during a brief ceremony at Village Hall in Port Jefferson. Captain Cluett, a research vessel captain for the Marine Science Research Center at Stony Brook University, was honored for saving a drowning man from the murky waters of Port Jefferson Harbor on August 26, 2000,

Captain Cluett’s act of bravery was brought to Senator LaValle’s attention by Marine Science Research Center Director Marvin Geller. “When I heard of the Captain’s heroic deed there was no doubt in my mind that he was truly worthy of the Senate’s newly-created ‘Liberty Award’,” said Senator LaValle.

According to Senator LaValle, the “Liberty Award” was designed to recognize constituents for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements. The award is unique in that there is no other existing form of civilian commendation or recognition in New York that conveys the award’s integrity and prestige. The “Liberty Award” may be likened to the national Congressional Gold Medal,” said Senator LaValle. Captain Cluett is the first recipient of the “Liberty Award” in the First Senatorial District.

Captain Stephen Cluett’s act of bravery and heroism in saving a human life was one of extraordinary valor. The Captain and his children were out in an inflatable boat on the waters of Port Jefferson Harbor on August 26, 2000 when they witnessed a man in distress. Risking his own life, Captain Cluett jumped into the murky harbor waters to help the man, diving four times before he bumped into the man lying on the bottom of the harbor. Cluett was able to get the man to the shore and realized the man’s heart and breathing had stopped. He immediately began CPR and was successful in reviving the man before the ambulance arrived. Captain Cluett later learned the man was Tony Gonzales, a legal alien living on the streets of Port Jefferson.

“it is people like Captain Stephen Cluett who make us proud to be New Yorkers and provide our communities with role models we can point to with a deep sense of pride,” said Senator LaValle. “Captain Cluett is a modest man who shuns the limelight. However, in this instance, we would be remiss not to have presented Captain Cluett this prestigious honor in recognition of his courage and sense of responsibility for his fellowman. It is individuals like him that restore our faith in humanity and make our communities better places to live.”

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