Baby dolphin rescuers honored


One of the less experienced members of Atlantic Beach Rescue teamed with one of the more veteran members to save a baby dolphin on April 9, and were honored for their effort by Assemblywoman Melissa Miller (R-Atlantic Beach), who presented them with a citation at the squad’s headquarters last Saturday.

“It's important to recognize those who go above and beyond the call of duty for our community which is what this rescue squad did by responding to save this baby dolphin,” Miller said. “As an animal lover, I’m so grateful that the rescue squad was able to intervene.”

Michael Simao, a Lawrence High School senior, and Nathan Etrog, an ex-captain, guided the young dolphin back into the water off the village’s shore after it had washed up near the Catalina Beach Club at Eldorado Street Beach in the Village of Atlantic Beach.

Village resident Heidi Appelbaum Bernstein originally saw the stranded baby dolphin. She and a friend, who was not identified, tried to move the dolphin back into the water, according to Jennifer Harnett, a spokeswoman for the rescue unit. Harnett said that a number of residents also tried to help.

Bernstein, unsure of the dolphin’s condition, also contacted Riverhead Foundation for Marine Research and Preservation, which is a rescue and rehabilitation organization that promotes the preservation and protection of marine environments.

Rescue squad Chief Jonathan Kohan and Assistant Chief Avi Golan responded to the scene along with other members of the all-volunteer unit. Etrog and Simao then successfully moved the dolphin back into the water beyond where the waves were breaking.

“You guys went above and beyond,” Atlantic Beach Mayor George Pappas said, “It was an awesome feat.”