East Haven teen given award for saving elderly man from nearly drowning

New Haven

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An East Haven teenager responded when help was needed and is being called a hero for doing so. 

Fourteen-year-old Davin Garamella was at East Haven’s beach off Morgan Avenue with his family about one week ago.

“We were just swimming and having a good time,” he told News 8, when one of his neighbors, who was on the beach with them, called for him to check on an elderly man in the water.

Garamella instantly ran down to the shoreline and noticed something wasn’t right.

“He was getting pushed up against the shore, and he was face down on the shore like he was snorkeling.”

Garamella tapped the elderly man on his shoulder and then flipped him over when he didn’t respond.

“I flipped him over, saw he was unconscious and pulled him up just so he wouldn’t keep breathing water.”

Nearby neighbors called 911 while Garamella stayed with the elderly man. First responders said the man is recovering and expected to be okay.

The East Haven Board of Fire Commissioners will honor the teen with a Civilian Lifesaving Award on Monday night — just more than one week from the life-saving incident.

“If you asked [told] me two weeks ago, ‘Ooh yeah, you’re getting an award for saving someone’s life,’ I wouldn’t have believed you,” Garamella said. “Everything happened so fast, I didn’t really know what I was doing. I just knew I had to get him out of the water.” 

Shawn Garamella, Davin’s mom, said she looks back at the emotional moment for her family with pride.

“Even to say it all out loud its just goosebumps everywhere. No matter how many times I retell the story, pretty emotional.” 

She told News 8 people from all across the state have reached out to thank her son for his bravery.

“The outpouring of response from the community has been overwhelming,” she said.

If you ask the 14-year-old, there’s one thing he’s hoping for from here: “I would love to meet him just to hear his voice.”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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