Good Samaritan, family of man who died while rescuing distressed swimmers in Pompano Beach honored with Medal of Valor awards

FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - Two men who rushed into danger to help swimmers in distress are being honored as heroes for their efforts.

Sadly, one of the men lost his life saving the others on New Year’s Day.

They were both given a special salute in Broward County on Tuesday.

“One gave his life, one risked his life,” said Broward County Mayor Steve Geller.

Gary Cappellucci was honored as a good Samaritan who died saving others.

His family attended the ceremony on his behalf and were presented with a Medal of Valor award.

“He paid the ultimate sacrifice to save somebody he didn’t know, so it’s an honor being his son,” said Zachary Cappellucci.

Gary was on the sands of Pompano Beach with his wife and two kids when swimmers in the water — three children and several adults — got caught in rip currents.

Gary and Saul Trujillo jumped in the water to help.

“Both showed great courage in the face of great danger,” said Geller.

Trujillo survived the rescue and was able to attend the ceremony, where he was honored.

7News cameras captured the mayor presenting Trujillo with his Medal of Valor award.

The medal recognizes Broward County residents who show courage in the face of danger and put their lives on the line.

“Naming today the Saul Trujillo Day in Broward County and Gary Cappellucci Day,” said Geller.

“It was an honor,” said Trujillo. “It was an honor that the mayor is going to dedicate a day to us. It’s just tough to see somebody that good, that loved, go.”

Geller encouraged South Florida residents to donate to Gary Cappellucci’s family through their GoFundMe page.

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