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Proclamation

Port Jefferson Trustee Larry LaPointe stands with code officers, from left, James Murdocco, John Vinicombe, Paul Barbato and Gina Savoie as they pose with their proclamations. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Port Jefferson Village honored five code enforcement officers on Monday night who officials say went above the call of duty to serve the community.

Two helped save an overdosing man’s life, one attempted to revive a car crash victim, another thwarted a burglary and a lieutenant protected the village during the recent heavy snowstorm. The board of trustees presented them with proclamations for their service to cheers from the audience at Village Hall.

Gina Savoie was commended for preventing a break-in at a home in the Harbor Hills area earlier this month after she saw suspicious activity and called for police assistance. According to code bureau Chief Wally Tomaszewski, two Coram residents were arrested for loitering as a result.

Paul Barbato, who received a proclamation last year for reviving a man in cardiac arrest at a Port Jefferson restaurant, was honored again Monday for attempting to save a Belle Terre man trapped inside a Lamborghini that had crashed into a pole on East Broadway. Barbato, the first on the scene of the mid-December crash near High Street, got inside the car and performed CPR.

Lt. John Borrero is honored. Photo by Elana Glowatz
Lt. John Borrero is honored. Photo by Elana Glowatz

Although his attempt ultimately proved unsuccessful, he “tried desperately to save his life,” Tomaszewski said in a previous interview. “Believe me, his boots were filled with blood.”

A couple of weeks later, James Murdocco and John Vinicombe responded to an opioid overdose at the Islandwide Taxi stand near the Port Jefferson Long Island Rail Road station. Mayor Margot Garant said Monday that the officers were told the young victim was dead, and they found no pulse or respiration. Murdocco and Vinicombe each administered the anti-overdose medication Narcan and Murdocco performed CPR.

The man regained consciousness and “became violent,” she said, and had to be restrained.

Garant added an unplanned honor to Monday night’s affair, commending Lt. John Borrero for his work during the blizzard, commonly dubbed Winter Storm Jonas, that hit Long Island hard on Jan. 23.

“I cannot tell you what this one gentleman did, on tour all day, making sure our streets are safe, shutting down roads, calling other code enforcement officers in during a massive blizzard — he’s out there helping employees get to work at St. Charles Hospital,” the mayor said. “Your service to this community is just invaluable, John. I cannot tell you the amount of respect you earned that night.”

She told the audience that there is more to the code enforcement bureau than meets the eye.

“These officers are not merely giving out tickets,” Garant said, “but they’re saving lives.”

Eli Mollineaux, who was born with a rare condition called Pearson marrow-pancreas syndrome, smiles for a photo at Huntington High School after receiving a proclamation from the town for his positive attitude and high spirit despite his condition. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Rain or shine, 13-year-old Eli Mollineaux always has a smile on his face — even as he battles a rare mitochondrial disease known as Pearson marrow-pancreas syndrome.

On Wednesday, Suffolk County honored Eli for his sunny disposition despite his condition, with a proclamation. Now, the month of September is Mitochondrial Awareness month, and Suffolk County officials went a step further, calling the proclamation “Eli’s Law” in light of the Huntington native’s 14th birthday this Saturday, Oct. 3.

Eli’s birthday is yet another milestone for him, his family and their friends.

“The lifespan for kids with Pearson’s is around 3 to 4 years old,” said Alyssa Mancuso, a family friend of 10 years. “So the fact that Eli’s turning 14 is huge.”

Children with Pearson marrow-pancreas syndrome, an incurable multisystem disorder, have problems with the development of blood-forming cells in the bone marrow that have the potential to develop into different types of blood cells.

From left, Huntington School District Superintendent James Polansky, Principal Brenden Cusack, Legislator William “Doc” Spencer, Eli Mollineaux, his mother Ellen, younger brother Sam, older brother Josh and Eli’s aide Ilene Messina, pose for a photo at Huntington High School while Eli holds his proclamation. Photo by Giselle Barkley
From left, Huntington School District Superintendent James Polansky, Principal Brenden Cusack, Legislator William “Doc” Spencer, Eli Mollineaux, his mother Ellen, younger brother Sam, older brother Josh and Eli’s aide Ilene Messina, pose for a photo at Huntington High School while Eli holds his proclamation. Photo by Giselle Barkley

According to Eli’s mother, Ellen Mollineaux, the “mitochondria is [the] battery for cells and [Eli] is missing a big part of that battery.”

Mollineaux remembers her son’s condition developing when he was a infant, as he was often sick and didn’t act like a typical child.

“Cognitively, I knew he was there, but all of a sudden he was sleeping more and wasn’t playful,” Mollineaux said. “[He] always wanted to be held and hugged and I knew something was wrong.”

After taking Eli to his pediatrician, a blood test revealed Eli’s hemoglobin level was around 1.9 grams per deciliter, when the average 6-month to 2-year-old child’s level should be around 12, which means his body was running out of blood. Mollineaux said doctors rushed Eli to the North Shore Hospital in Manhasset for a blood transfusion.

“It was as if they filled his tank up with gas,” Mollineaux said. “He sat up and within minutes; all the skills he didn’t have, he had.”

Mollineaux received the transfusion in September of 2002. While Eli was doing well for a few years, his disorder has progressed in the last several months. According to his mother, his tremors are getting worse, making it difficult for him to eat — especially his favorite food, soup. Walking is also more difficult.

Principal Brenden Cusack, left, and Eli Mollineaux, right, perform Eli’s daily joke over the school intercom. Photo by Giselle Barkley
Principal Brenden Cusack and Eli Mollineaux perform Eli’s daily joke over the school intercom. Photo by Giselle Barkley

Despite this, Eli remains positive.

“He will lose his balance when he tries to walk and he doesn’t say ‘It sucks,’” Mollineaux said. “If the doctor asks him… ‘How you doing?’ Even though he can’t walk [properly, he says] ‘Great. Everything’s good.’”

During an interview with media, Eli’s older brother, Josh, also commented on his brother’s sunny disposition. He said his brother is a happy kid who is indifferent to his illness.

The only thing Eli doesn’t like, is having his blood drawn.

Regardless of his hardships, thinking about school and seeing his friends is what keeps Eli’s spirit up. During an interview, he said art was his favorite subject at school.

Legislator William “Doc” Spencer (D-Centerport), who was present at the press conference where Eli received his proclamation, said “Eli’s Law” will honor Eli’s courage, while bringing awareness to his condition. Spencer said that Eli and his spirit is inspiring, and gives hope to those who are battling their own adversities.

Although his current prognosis is not very good, Ellen Mollineaux said her family clings to their motto.

“Nobody knows their future,” she said. “That’s like our motto. No one knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. Horrible things happen every day and we just move on.”

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