Reitan, who is a lieutenant with the Miller Place Fire Department EMS Corps, received the award for his heroic actions in saving the life of an injured motorcyclist last summer.
“I couldn’t believe it, but I don’t do what I do for the awards,” he said. “I just want to help people.”
On Aug. 22, 2011, Reitan was the first to respond to a motorcyclist who had crashed on Miller Place-Yaphank Road in Miller Place.
He said he had just gotten home from a different call when 2nd Assistant Chief Josh Hagermann telephoned.
“He called and said, ‘There’s a really bad car accident down the road from your house. You have to get there and check it out,’” Reitan recalled.
When he arrived, he maneuvered his car to block traffic and protect the victim, who was lying unconscious in the street. “He was barely breathing so I grabbed my equipment and put a mask over his face, which forces air down into his lungs to get his breathing back,” Reitan said. He continued to assist the victim until a helicopter transport arrived.
Reitan said the victim’s brother called the fire department several weeks later to tell them the victim was doing well.
Michael Reid, director of the FASNY, said the award is meant to honor volunteers like Reitan who go above and beyond to save a life.
“For a young man to display that level of maturity, to take control of a very bad situation and provide direction on scene — that really stood out,” he said.
Carl Schroeter, chief of the MPFD, said Reitan has been a great asset to the department.
“Kyle is very calm and clearheaded during emergencies,” he said. “Because of his EMT skills, he was able to make a difference and literally saved this guy’s life.”
The 21-year-old always knew he wanted to join the fire department, he said, and signed up as soon as he turned 18.
“I always wanted to help out the community in some way and I decided to become an EMT,” he said.
In addition to being an EMT, Reitan works full-time in Manhattan as a production assistant at WCBS Newsradio 880. In May, he graduated from New York Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s in communications arts.
Reitan has also written for Times Beacon Record newspapers beginning in 2004.
Despite the busy schedule, Reitan said he enjoys being an EMT and responds to calls whenever possible.
“When my pager goes off, if I’m home I’m going out on the call.”