NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - During President Barack Obama's visit to Sandy-ravaged areas of Staten Island, the commander-in-chief took time to praise one of New York's finest.
Lt. Kevin Gallagher was lauded by the president for going "above and beyond the call of duty" in the middle of one of Sandy's bitterest incidents.
Gallagher, a 24-year veteran of the NYPD, stayed with Glenda Moore after her two sons were swept from her arms by the storm surge.
Moore was with her children in an SUV as Sandy hit. Their car hit a tree and stalled. Moore got out of the car, carrying her boys in her arms, and knocked on a man's door nearby for help. The man said no and turned her away. Moore was clinging to a railing when a surge of water took her boys right out of her arms.
Obama visited the Moore family today.
"I expressed to them as a father, as a parent, my heartbreak over what they went through," Obama said. "But they came here in part because they want to say thank you to all the people who have been supportive of them. They in particular mentioned Lt. Kevin Gallagher of the NYPD, who, when they knew that their sons were missing... made a point of staying with them and doing everything he could so that ultimately, they knew what had happened with the boys."
Obama added that the Moore family told them Gallagher "has been with them as a source of support ever since."
"That's not in the job description of Lt. Gallagher," Obama said. "He did that because that's what so many of our first responders do. They go above and beyond the call of duty to respond to people in need. So I want to give a shout out to Lt. Gallagher, but I also want to point out the Moores, even in their grief, asked me to mention Lt. Gallagher, and that says something about them as well."
The NYPD said Gallagher, 46, had received 64 police medals and has worked with the Staten Island District Attorney's squad since June 2011.
"I'm very proud of you, New York. You guys are tough, and you bounce back, just as America always bounces back," Obama said. "The same is going to be true this time out."
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