Police officers hailed as heroes for helping woman in moment of need

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MINEOLA -

Massapequa mother Dana Sepulveda got a chance to hug her heroes on Monday. It was the first time she’d seen the Nassau County police officers since the day she says they saved her life.

Sepulveda was living in desperate need of a kidney and liver transplant. She received an early morning phone call back in June saying there were organs ready and available -- if she could get to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York in the next 90 minutes.

"I didn't know where to go. I just wanted to go somewhere that had a car that had sirens on it," Sepulveda says.

Her first stop was Nassau's 7th Precinct, and they helped her get the lift she needed. Two police officers escorted her to Bethpage, where another two officers were waiting with a helicopter. Then NYPD officers helped her make it safely to Mount Sinai in time for the lifesaving operation.

She made it to the hospital in about half an hour.

In a ceremony on Monday, the Nassau officers were named the "top cops of the county."

One of the officers who helped save Sepulveda's life, Officer Michael Passarelli, had only been on the job for a few months. Another, Police Officer Pilot Thomas Fabian, is set to retire next week.

"It's a terrific feeling. I'm just really glad she's feeling well and hopefully she has a speedy recovery," Passarelli says.

"We're not always just going out looking for people that are doing wrong. We're trying to help out people that are in need, and I'm glad we could do something for this lady," says Fabian.

Sepulveda is still recovering, but says she's feeling great and happy to be alive.

“I didn't have a hero until that day, and now I have a few of them,” she says.

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