Lady Lake Police Sgt. Tom Sarakinis was among the law enforcement personnel honored Wednesday for outstanding service and devotion to duty during the Leesburg Rotary Club’s “Service Above Self” awards ceremony held at the Venetian Center.
Sarakinis was recognized for his quick actions last year, when he noticed fire coming from beneath a car, pulled it over and ushered the occupants to safety before the car burst into flames.
A 13-year veteran of the department, Sarakinis was traveling on Florida’s Turnpike to Lady Lake from Jupiter, Florida, where he and several other officers had just picked up new police vehicles. During the trip, he noticed a car that appeared to have a ruptured fuel line, with the fuel catching fire and leaking all over the roadway.
After pulling the car over, he quickly exited his vehicle and assisted the driver out of car, escorting her and her passenger to safety. The driver told the officers that she has difficulty walking and was thankful that police had stopped to offer aid. Another officer turned the ignition off and sprayed the car down with a fire extinguisher. But within seconds, the vehicle became fully engulfed. Sgt. Sarakinis was able to position his vehicle to stop traffic from approaching and prevent any other citizens from harm.
“We are very proud to have Sgt. Sarakinis serving with the Lady Lake Police Department,” said interim Chief Steven Hunt. “He is a testament to the dedication of the men and women who serve this community.”
Sarakinis is married to Melanie Sarakinis, who is the head of The Enrichment Academy in The Villages.