Six years after saving Sarah Thalhammer, Suffolk County Police Officer Matthew DeMatteo was her special guest at her high school graduation. On January, 17, 2011, DeMatteo pulled then 11-year-old Thalhammer from icy Great South Bay in Sayville, New York, saving her life.
The preteen had been walking a neighbor’s dog, who pulled her onto the thin ice, which gave way and they both fell in. Thankfully Officer DeMatteo arrived quickly and jumped in to rescue both Thalhammer and the dog. And her mother, Michaela, was so grateful, she’s adopted the officer as extended family, keeping in touch with him over the years.
So when she asked DeMatteo to come see Thalhammer get her high school diploma, he came in his dress uniform and brought the grad a bouquet of flowers to celebrate. “She’s going off to college and she’s going to do great things,” DeMatteo says. “I’m very, very proud of her.”
Check out the video below.