The New York City Department of Sanitation (DSNY) held a graduation, promotion and awards ceremony for more than 600 civilian and uniformed employees on October 19. DSNY officially welcomed some 450 newly graduated sanitation workers, as well as new sanitation police officers, environmental police unit officers and sanitation enforcement agents.
The department also promoted uniformed employees, including new assistant chiefs, deputy chiefs, general superintendents, supervisors, sanitation police lieutenants and inspectors and lieutenants in the Environmental Police Unit.
Father Michael Gribbon was given the oath of office and is the department’s newest chaplain. His father was a uniformed chief in the department in the 1970s.
During the ceremony, DSNY also recognized acts of heroism and acknowledged workplace excellence. The 2018 Commissioner’s Awards of Excellence and Quarterly Award winners received certificates for their accomplishments and in specialized areas, such as innovation, safety, sustainability, managerial excellence and snow and emergency response. The department also presented the Humanitarian Award to the team of sanitation responders who went to Puerto Rico to help with disaster response following Hurricane Maria.
Finally, DSNY presented Medals of Valor to employees who went beyond the call of duty. Gold Medal of Valor awardees include:
- Two sanitation workers who, while traveling on their organics collection route, heard an altercation. They saw a woman on the ground, screaming and being assaulted by a man. The two workers chased and restrained the man until police officers arrived and made an arrest.
- A sanitation worker witnessed a hit and run—a car hit a pedestrian—while working in Manhattan. The worker quickly jumped from his vehicle and pulled the pedestrian away from the traffic lane to avoid being hit by another vehicle. A Port Authority Officer and an EMT responded to the scene, and the pedestrian was taken to the hospital for treatment.
- A sanitation worker, who was driving a collection truck over the Verrazzano Bridge, witnessed an overturned tractor-trailer. The worker safely pulled over and removed the injured tractor-trailer driver from his overturned rig. The worker then waited until police arrived on scene and went on to finish his assigned work.
The Silver Medal of Valor was presented to:
- A sanitation worker—the department’s first female sanitation worker to receive a Medal of Valor—heard a colleague screaming from inside the garage. The colleague had been performing a routine mechanical broom wash when his arm was pulled into the broom’s mechanical operation. The worker immediately shut down the broom and helped the colleague free his arm. The police and fire departments were notified, and the injured man was transported to the hospital for treatment of broken bones and lacerations.