LYONS & SODUS POINT, N.Y. (WROC) — Sgt. Aaron DiSanto has served with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office for 26 years. He’s responded to countless calls since 1994, but July 2 of this year at Sodus Point will always stick with him.
“I feel terrible about it. I got lucky,” he says.
DiSanto helped with rescue efforts in Lake Ontario when three young women swimming were overpowered by two to three foot waves, and could not longer stay afloat. The water smashing against the cement pier. DiSanto plunged in immediately to help pull the women out with his rescue rope. But he wasn’t alone. Bystanders were already in.
“There were some good Samaritans who jumped in. One of them did not make it,” says DiSanto.
DiSanto says 20-year-old Draven Starr-Howell of Palmyra was the real hero that day. He later died from helping the women out of the water. All of whom lived. For Draven’s family, Disanto says he can never tell them enough of their son’s courage that day.
“Very brave. They should be very proud of the son they raised. I know what he went through. I had the luxury of a life jacket. That’s why I’m standing here today,” he says.
Disanto thanked us for the First Responders Award, but accepted it with a heavy heart. “Helping people out…Usually you feel good about that but I can’t feel good when someone lost their life that day.”
He says when signs are posted stating “no lifeguard on duty, no swimming” like in Sodus Point, they are there for a reason. He feels if he arrived just a minute earlier to warn the bystanders without lifejackets to not jump in, “…maybe the outcome would have bee a little bit better.”
And our gift box from Dunkin? DiSanto says he’s going to donate it to Draven’s family.