As Officers Shawn Charles and Greg Saladino performed CPR on the boy pulled out of the ocean off Hollywood Beach, they thought they had lost him.
Carnide Thermidor Remy thought she was watching her son die.
Finally, 16-year-old Cottard Remy coughed up water. He was breathing again.
On Tuesday, the four Hollywood police officers who had saved Remy on Memorial Day Weekend — Charles, Saladino, and Officers Steven Dienfenbacher and Jason Thomas — were honored for saving the teen’s life.
“I am just humbled to be a part of an event where such good teamwork took place,” Thomas said. “He’s the award. That’s the true award.”
The awards, presented by Hollywood Interim Police Chief Vincent Affanato, represented the selfless act the officers took to bring a young man back to life.
“The officers’ years of experience and training provided them the ability to act instinctively and without hesitation,” Affanato said. “The officers set an exemplary example for younger officers to follow by their selfless actions that saved the life of a drowning 16-year-old young man.”
Cottard Remy remembers the frantic feeling he felt in the water, believing that no one would save him. It was after 7:30 p.m. on Memorial Day, and the lifeguards were long gone for the day. Cottard and his big brother, 17-year-old Richard Remy thought it would be fun to go deeper into the ocean. But about 10 minutes later, the current gained strength and began pulling the brothers further back.
Neither of them knew how to swim.
Richard Remy made it out.
“I looked at the beach, nobody seemed to care, I felt helpless,” Cottard Remy said. “I was really scared and then I passed out. I didn’t think I was going to come back.”
It wasn’t until the North Miami Senior High school sophomore woke up at Memorial Regional Hospital that he knew he was OK.
The officers were on patrol on the beach at the time. Dienfenbacher and Thomas swam out and brought Remy in. Charles and Saladino began CPR.
“I just cannot find words, I didn’t even believe anybody would come,” said Carnide Remy. “I don’t how to express my gratitude but I praise God for them. To me, they were angels.”
Dienfenbacher admitted on Tuesday that as he saw Remy go under, his adrenaline began pumping.
“To be a parent and watch your son go under water like that and being so far out, it’s helpless, especially if no one can swim,” Dienfenbacher said.
This will be Dienfenbacher’s second Lifesaving Award in the past six months.
Lisa Greco, who is one of Broward County’s YMCA supervisors, was on the beach when the near-drowning took place.
“My main concern was after I visited him at the hospital I learned that he and all of his brothers didn’t know how to swim,” Greco said. “As soon as I heard that, I said that’s it, I’m getting them lessons if I have to pay for them myself.”
With Greco’s efforts, the YMCA received funds from a private sponsor to pay for future swimming lessons for the Remy family.