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As part of HURST Jaws of Life’s 50th anniversary, we’re celebrating the legendary rescue tool and honoring the heroes behind them in our series, In The Hands of Heroes.

Picture this: An dramatic sepia-toned ink drawing of the legendary HURST Jaws of Life spreaders. More than a foot long, the spreader’s arms are open wide to nestle a Green Cross within its limbs, and a halo effect surrounds the icon to celebrate that lives have been saved. Zoom out a bit, and picture this: The ink drawing is a tattoo, and it spans firefighter Anthony Morabito’s left arm from wrist to bicep.

You may have heard the story. Early, very early, one morning in 2007, Assistant Chief Anthony Morabito of the Ridge Volunteer Fire Department in New York was woken by the sound of his pager. Three teenage boys were t-boned in their car. They were trapped, and severely injured. With the help of several HURST Jaws of Life rescue tools, Anthony and his teammates removed the roof and doors, and saved the teenagers lives.

Anthony – who 10 years later would join HURST as a regional sales manager – received Green Cross recognition from HURST Jaws of Life for saving lives that day, joining thousands of firefighters each year who share their stories of courage with HURST for Green Cross honors. The Green Cross debuted in 1973, just one year after the first commercial sale of HURST Jaws of Life, setting a tradition of honoring the often unsung heroes who are our first responders.

The first responder community – firefighters, law enforcement, EMTs – is rich with tradition. Like the tradition of children following the same career calling as their parents. Anthony, who has held every rank from second lieutenant to chief and was nationally certified as a level 2 fire service instructor, inspired his offspring. Anthony’s two sons are volunteer firefighters alongside him. His oldest son, of the same name, is 1st Lieutenant with Ridge Volunteer FD and has volunteered for 10 years. His youngest, Jonathan, has volunteered for seven years.

For Anthony, firefighting isn’t just something he does. It’s part of the essence of who he is. Anthony became a firefighter in 1997, volunteering his services for his community when he wasn’t at work. He was a terminal manager for an armored car company for 13 years before moving into the extrication business full time. He worked with HURST Jaws of Life dealer Firematic, teaching HURST tool classes, airbag classes and bailout system training, before joining HURST. He now shares those skills with a long list of HURST dealers and end users, serving as educator and trainer – for tool training and tool maintenance. He will share knowledge, tips and know-how with anyone who takes the time to ask. He shares a passion with his sons, and has a passion for his family. And he shares his time, life-saving skills and determination to get to the patient quickly with all who live in Ridge, N.Y.

When our lives are in the hands of heroes like this one, we’re in good hands.