Nassau officers honored for helping organ-carrying SUV

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

Two Nassau County Highway Patrol officers were honored Thursday for their quick actions after coming across a vehicle with a flat tire on the Long Island Expressway.

That vehicle belonged to LiveOnNY, an organ procurement organization. It was transporting several organs for transplant at the time. Officers Michael Hughes and Marty Messina were able to quickly change the tire, making it possible to get the organs to a donor patient.

On May 27, Hughes says he was on the side of the road near LIE Exit 41 when he spotted the SUV stopped in the left lane. He says he knew he had to help and that time was of the essence.

"When I saw what it said on the side of the vehicle I realized we should try to help them get along a little bit quicker," says Hughes.

The problem was that Hughes says he didn't have the proper equipment to change the tire. Luckily, Officer Messina showed up a few minutes later.

"Him stopping by really did make the difference of getting it out of there much quicker than it would have otherwise," adds Hughes.

LiveOnNY president and CEO Helen Irving says the officers helped save a life.

"A small act of kindness, you never know where it's going to get you," she says.

To show her appreciation, Irving presented the officers with a gift of life medals, which are typically given to families of organ donors.

"Sometimes it's a thankless job, but today it's not, it's a good thing," Messina says.

Irving says there are about 10,000 people on the organ wait list in the state and that one New Yorker on the list dies every 18 hours.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • What's Cooking Photos

    What's Cooking Photos

    Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.
    Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.Chef Rob, of Uncle Giuseppe's, adds a little clarified butter, fresh herbs, some olive oil and, of course, salt and pepper, to season the steak. Add some roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli rabe and some white wine to complete your perfect summer meal.

    Each week, News 12's Lily Stolzberg heads into the kitchen with a different chef to cook up some delicious meals.

    Each week, News 12's Lily Stolzberg heads into the kitchen with a different chef to cook up some delicious meals.

  • Dog Day Fridays for July 20

    Dog Day Fridays for July 20

    Friday, July 20 2018 7:45 AM EDT2018-07-20 11:45:59 GMT
    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue.This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Ruff House Rescue. The shelter is located in Island Park. Their phone number is (516) 960-6388.

  • Guide: Where to find food trucks on Long Island

    Guide: Where to find food trucks on Long Island

    Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.
    Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.Rolling Smoke can be found across Long Island.

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them on Long Island. 

    Craving something savory or sweet? It doesn't really matter when it comes to food trucks, where you can have it all -- you just have to know where to find them! Here is a list of food trucks and where you could find them on Long Island. 

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."