Port Jefferson officials and residents honored a village code officer on Monday night after he helped save another man’s life while on duty.
On March 15, Paul Barbato was working in the village when a call came in of an unconscious man who was not breathing and was slouched over a table at Grumpy Jack’s sports bar and grill on Oakland Avenue in upper Port, according to Mayor Margot Garant. Barbato responded and found the victim did not have a pulse.
“Barbato lowered him to the floor and initiated chest compressions and rescue breathing,” Garant said.
At that point, a Suffolk County police officer made it to the scene with a defibrillator and the pair got the man breathing again. Garant said an ambulance transported the man, who survived the incident, to John T. Mather Memorial Hospital.
The mayor presented Barbato, who was hired in 2012, with a certificate of appreciation during the board of trustees meeting on Monday, to much applause from the crowd of residents in attendance.
According to code bureau Chief Wally Tomaszewski, Barbato was originally trained as a park ranger and when he’s not working in village code enforcement, he transports criminals who are being removed from the U.S., to places as far away as Asia, Europe and North Africa or as close as Canada.
“So when you see a guy aboard an airplane, he’s got somebody with him with a set of handcuffs on, the other guy with the tie is Paul.”
Tomaszewski also said Barbato is tough and when residents see him walking Main Street, they should shake hands with him, “and you’ll notice that he has a hand like a rock. Nobody would dare mess with him.”
But in addition to muscle, he also brings a passion for the job.
“One thing I love about seeing you in the village is you always stop and you say hi and you say how much you love working here,” Garant said to Barbato.
The officer did the same for the audience, saying, “I think this is just one of the nicest places you can get up in the morning and come to work.”
Upon receiving the certificate, he said, “You spoil me here.”
“You saved somebody’s life,” the mayor interjected. “That’s a big deal.”