When Brett Cappelli heard a woman calling for help on Monday in Somers, all he could do was think of his son who had recently drowned and how he had to help the person to prevent another death.
Cappelli, of Valatie, N.Y., (near Albany) heard the woman's cries for help while barbecuing and getting ready to have dinner with his son Brendan and his parents, who live in the Heritage Hills development in Somers.
The still grieving father jumped and ran to his car to drive to the nearby pond where the cries for help were coming from. At the same time, his son Brendan jumped over the deck and railing and ran for the pond.
When Cappelli arrived, his son Brendan had managed to pull the woman's head above water but was afraid to move her much because she was complaining of back pain.
"We managed to slowly move her to the shallow end of the pond and hold her there until help could arrive," he said.
The woman, who had been feeding geese, had slipped and fallen into the pond. Emergency responders were able to safely pull her out and provide medical help, Cappelli said.
"All I could think about was that my son Brett who drowned on June 11 was somehow helping," he added.
Cappelli said that his son, who drowned in the Stony Kill Creek swimming hole in upstate Chatham, was a good and helpful person and was somehow guiding them to save the woman.
"He didn't have it easy as a transgender person, but he would help anyone, could make anyone laugh, and we were so proud of him," he said.
When rescuing the woman, Cappelli said he was wearing a necklace that contained some of his son's ashes and his birthstone.
"It was just meant to be," he said. "That's all I can say."
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