MAHOPAC, N.Y. - A reunion of the very best kind took place Wednesday evening inside Carmel's Town Hall in Mahopac.
Mahopac 19-year-old Cullen Malzo - who pulled two teenage girls from a car wreck in the waters of Lake Mahopac on Nov. 10 - was reunited with the girls and honored for his brave actions in front of local and state officials in an emotional ceremony, as the rescued girls and their families, as well as relatives of Malzo, watched teary-eyed from the audience.
"In life, God puts you where you're supposed to be," State Sen. Terrence Murphy said of Malzo. "And on Nov. 10, He put you where you were supposed to be, and because of that two girls are alive and well today."
In a critical, and potential life or death situation, Malzo never hesitated. He called 911 (at first on his calculator by accident, as he recalled Wednesday night) and then went about the business of getting Dana Circelli and Julia Brower, both 17, out of the submerged vehicle.
Malzo was awarded the state's highest honor - the New York State Senate Liberty Medal - by Murphy, and was also recognized by Carmel Supervisor Ken Schmitt and Putnam Sheriff Don Smith.
The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is given to individuals who have performed exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of others.
Malzo grew up in Yorktown and graduated from Lakeland HS in 2015 before moving to Mahopac a year-and-a-half ago. He was in his driveway on Nov. 10 when a car came speeding down North Lake Boulevard, when the driver lost control of the car. It hit a utility pole and flipped over, landing upside down in Lake Mahopac.
After calling 911, Malzo ran into the lake and found himself immersed in thick mud, but he could hear the two teen girls screaming from inside the car. Malzo was able to reach the passenger and pull her out of the window. He then had to search before finding the driver's foot and pulling her free.
Watch the video to see an interview with Malzo, Circelli, Brower, Joe Malzo (Cullen's dad), and Sen. Murphy.
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