The Southampton School District took time last week to honor one of its teachers, Matthew Shimkus, who was recently awarded the Suffolk County Medal of Valor for his work with the Southampton Fire Department.
Mr. Shimkus, along with Southampton Fire Department members Michael Kampf, Stephen Rogoski and Rodney Pierson, were presented awards for rescuing a 95-year-old woman from her burning home on Bellows Lane in October 2012. Although the woman later died, the men have been recognized as heroes for their valiant attempt to save her.
Last week, the Southampton School Board honored Mr. Shimkus, a teacher’s assistant in math at the district high school, and thanked him for his service to the Southampton community.
“Our staff do so much more than teach and support our children,” District Superintendent Dr. Scott Farina said. “They are also a huge part of our community, and we are very honored to recognize one of our staff members. Thank you very much for all you do for our students and our community.”
Mr. Shimkus was given a standing ovation by members of the public at the meeting, and high school Principal Dr. Brian Zahn said he is honored to have a local hero working at the school.
“Mr. Shimkus certainly went above and beyond the call of duty back in October 2012, when he courageously went into that home to rescue that elderly woman who was trapped, putting his own life in harm and jeopardy,” Dr. Zahn said. “We would like to congratulate and honor Mr. Shimkus for his courage and his commitment to the Southampton community.”