The two cars involved in the accident were both on fire, but that didn’t stop Seminara.
The deputy inspector helped free 30-year-old Rhonda Alexander, whose door was damaged in the wreck. With the help of an anonymous motorist, Seminara crawled through the passenger side and pulled Alexander out as the car became increasingly engulfed in flames.
“What started off as a chance encounter on Belt Parkway has now ended in Rhonda and I becoming friends,” Seminara said, adding that Alexander joined his family for Christmas Eve dinner. “As a Brooklyn kid born and raised, this really is a tremendous honor.”
He added that Alexander’s calmness under pressure resulted in the success of the rescue.
“I’m thankful for Joseph and the good samaritan because without them I probably wouldn’t be alive,” Alexander said.
“The deputy inspector demonstrated absolute courage and effort without regard to his own safety,” said Adams. “As a former captain, I clearly understand the magnitude of the act, and we’re proud to have such devoted heroes among the ranks of the NYPD.”
Seminara was honored as Hero of the Month for November by Adams as a ceremony at Borough Hall.
October’s heroes were NYPD Transit District 30 officers Charles Edwards and Damion Graham. The pair saved a one-year-old baby, Amir Nieves, who had stopped breathing while traveling with his parents on a downtown C train.
Edwards took the baby into his arms and performed CPR. When EMS arrived, Edwards and Graham led the ambulance with the baby to a hospital, where he received life-saving treatment.
“It was humbling what I did,” Edwards said. “I’m just happy I was able to do it instead of standing there and going into some type of shock.”
The entire staff of Emma’s Torch were named December’s heroes. The Carroll Gardens organization empowers refugees, asylum seekers, and survivors of human trafficking through top-notch culinary training.
The nonprofit serves as both a restaurant and a classroom, with students getting eight weeks of paid apprenticeships in addition to ESL classes and job placement services.
Emma’s Torch also helps them find jobs within the food industry and allows participants to transition their spouses and families from shelters into better living environments.
“We are trying to instill confidence in our students and independence so that they can begin their journey in this country successfully, as well as the beginning of their culinary careers,” said Chef Alexander Harris, culinary director at Emma’s Torch.
The Brooklyn Public Library (BPL) recently announced that Emma’s Torch will operate the concession program at the Central Library in the new year.
At BPL, the apprenticeship program will extend to three months, and allow the nonprofit to teach new skills, such as barista training, customer service and commissary production.
“Emma’s Torch has personified what’s great about this country and what’s great about giving back and allowing people to find hope and prosperity in the greatest country alive,” Adams said.