SEA ISLE CITY — EMTs Kris Lynch and D.J. Fancher had just stopped for lunch at an ACME on Jan. 27 at 3:42 p.m. when they got the call. Static obscured the full message, but they heard someone was having abdominal pain.
About 10 blocks away, Jeanne Golato, 30, was experiencing contractions every 30 seconds. She could barely talk but told her husband to call an ambulance.
Lynch and Fancher arrived at the same time as Sgt. Shawn Lesniewski and Patrolman Steve Jankowski to find a tense scene. Golato was in labor in her bedroom, and the baby was coming out feet first.
"When I came in it was imminent," said Lynch, 50. "It was imminent that it was gonna happen so I just dropped down and did what I had to do."
The umbilical cord had wrapped around the baby twice, but by 3:52 p.m. — 10 minutes after the initial call — Jeanne was holding Luciana Golato, the first baby born on the island since 1977, according to city records.
Lynch, Fancher, 30, Lesniewski, 31, and Jankowski, 36, were recognized for their work Tuesday morning at a City Council meeting. They accepted lapel pins with an image of a stork and posed for pictures with the Golatos. Luciana's 3-year-old sister, Briella, accepted a key to the city from the mayor, recognition of the historical circumstances that brought her little sister into the world.
Police Chief Thomas McQuillen praised everyone involved for quick work and their calm under pressure.
"Just an amazing job by the EMTs, the officers that were there, the dispatchers, mom and dad being as calm as you could be in such a situation," said McQuillen. "We're just really proud and happy for everybody. We all can hear about the bad things that happen but this was truly a miracle that happened."
Mayor Leonard Desiderio called it an example of the quality of response services in Sea Isle.
"As you've heard me say many, many times, here in Sea Isle City we an have excellent police department, fire department and emergency medical squad," he said. "And this just shows what we do have here. They went above and beyond the call of duty."
Joe Golato, 35, thanked the officers and EMTs, as he held tight a photo of his newborn daughter.
"They were flawless and I can't thank them enough. They got my baby girl in the world safely," he said.
Lynch, a Sea Isle native who has been an EMT since 1992, described a methodical approach to what would have otherwise been chaos.
"We took care of the complications, made sure the baby was viable and breathing well enough," Lynch said, "and then I gave her to mom and then we moved."
The EMTs took Jeanne to Shore Memorial Hospital. Though Lynch said the complications made the birth dangerous for the mother and child, Jeanne found the first responders to be a calming presence throughout.
"It happened so quick," said Jeanne, 30. "They did amazing work ... They helped save my life; they helped save my baby's life."