LYNBROOK - At 18 years old, twin brothers Jake and Luke Bavaro are the newest members of the Lynbrook Volunteer Fire Department.
But their journey toward joining the ranks of the bravest began when they were just infants. They were in a car with their mom in a park off Sunrise Highway when Luke suddenly stopped breathing.
Their mom ran to a house nearby, 911 was called, and two members of the Lynbrook Fire Department responded within minutes. The firefighters were Joe Rice and PJ Curran. When they got to the scene, the boy's lips were turning blue.
"I was that close to death, and if they just didn't come, I wouldn't be here," Luke Bavaro says.
Over the next several months, Rice and Curran would see the twins again. Luke and Jake were premature babies who required home breathing monitors. A storm once knocked out power to their home, requiring another visit from the Lynbrook firefighters in 1998. At the time, a photo was snapped for the local paper.
Curran and Rice are still on the job, and they didn't realize the twins were joining the department until recently.
Rice says he was at a convention in Albany where the twins told their story about being saved by responding firefighters. He then realized that he was a part of that story.
"Even right now I get chills up my spine," said Rice. "It's a great story that I'm proud to be part of."
"They volunteered and helped us survive," says Luke Bavaro. "Maybe someday we will be able to help someone else."
Jake and Luke Bavaro are starting their freshman year in college next month -- but they're both attending Malloy College, and will still be able to volunteer with the Lynbrook Fire Department.