By Catherine Tsounis, Contributor
“A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer,” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“A 16-year-old youth went out on the ice in Little Neck Bay the evening of January 6th, ´said 111th Precinct, Deputy Inspector William McBride, Commanding Officer at the Community Council meeting located at 45-06 215th Street, Bayside, NY. “The nearest cop on duty was officer Constantine Saoulis. The teenager knew Greek. Officer Constantine Saoulis, who knows Greek, began talking to him in Greek calming the youth down. The ice was not frozen solid. The teenager boy fell through the ice and started swimming frantically with arms stretched upward. Officer Saoulis jumped into Little Neck Bay to save him.”
The thought that came to Officer Saoulis mind, a 35-year-old father of three children, was “I saw a young boy like my son. I felt I had to save him.” He saved the drowning youth, taking him out of Little Neck Bay. Officer Constantine Saoulis was awarded the “Cop of the Month” Award for January by the 111th NYPD Community Council. A filled room heard of this unique NYPD rescue. I have been attending the 111h Community Council Meetings for 37 years since 1991. This was the first time I heard of an NYPD officer being a capable swimmer, like a lifeguard, saving a drowning youth.
“So, you know Greek,” I asked Officer Saoulis in a packed room. He looked at me with a focused penetrating look. Impressive, determined and proud of his Greek heritage inspired him in this rare act of heroism.
In a personal interview, Officer Saoulis said “I almost didn’t make it.” I had flashbacks of an eighteen-year-old student with the same name who studied Advanced Greek in my class. Officer Constantine Saoulis was my student at St. John’s University, under the internally famous Chairman Dr. Gaetano Cipolla and Dean Salvatore Spizziri. The January 2018 “Cop of the Month” awardee is from a town near Sami, Cephalonia in the Ionian Sea. His sister, Attorney Katerina Saoulis, was one of my first students. They are both graduates of the St. Demetrios of Astoria elementary and high school system, stressing a Greek, western civilization curriculum, that is not politically correct.
Officer Saoulis is a former New York City educator with two Master of Arts degrees in Education and Special Education. “My education background motivated me to be a police officer.” Officer Saoulis was a thoughtful, quiet, sensitive, independent free thinker in my Modern Greek class. These unique traits contributed to this extraordinary act of heroism. I am honored, as an American, to have witnessed Deputy Inspector William McBride, a 2001 World Trade Center hero, award hero Officer Constantine Saoulis.
Originally established in the 1940’s, Precinct Community Councils are forums that provide on-going, direct communication between the police and community. Community members meet regularly with the precinct Commanding Officer and Community Affairs Officers to discuss and find solutions to public-safety problems in their neighborhood.
There are councils citywide, one in each precinct. In addition, Police Service Areas serving city housing developments convene resident councils.
Meetings are held once per month and open to the public1
Photo1 – Officer Constantine Saoulis (Left) with 111th Precinct, Deputy Inspector William McBride.
Photo 2- 111th Precinct, Deputy Inspector William McBride (left) with Officer Constantine Saoulis and family.