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Davin Garamella will be honored by the East Haven Fire Department for his role in saving a man from drowning. (Photo courtesy of Dave Garamella )
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Having lived near the beach in East Haven for his whole life, 14-year-old Davin Garamella spends time on the beach, and in the water, swimming, kayaking, sailing, or fishing. Then, on July 19, Davin went to the beach and saved a man’s life.
“It started as a regular beach day and quickly turned into a frightful event,” says Davin. “My dad asked me to go out and check to see if the groceries had been delivered, and one of my neighbors asked me to check if a man in the water was okay.”
Davin saw a man near the shore who was floating facedown like he was snorkeling. He approached the man and tapped him on the shoulder. When he didn’t respond, Davin jumped into action, remembering lessons he learned in his health classes at Our Lady of Mercy in 5th and 6th grade.
“As soon as it happened, it just happened so fast, but I knew what to do—it was instinct—I knew I had to get him to shore,” says Davin. “With all my might, I flipped him over and pulled him to shore. I called 911 and yelled for help. They told me to wait by the entrance to the beach and I’m so thankful they arrived so quickly.”
The man was unconscious when Davin pulled him to shore. The paramedics arrived and the man regained consciousness before the ambulance left the parking lot. On July 27, Davin received a certificate signed by Fire Chief Matt Marcarelli and the chairman of the fire commission. He will also be recognized with a mayoral proclamation.
After his experience, Davin now wants to look into becoming CPR certified in order to be prepared in case of an emergency.
Davin has had a Catholic school education, having attended St. Bernadette’s through 4th grade, Our Lady of Mercy in 5th- and 6th grade, and East Shoreline Catholic Academy (ESCA) in Branford for the past two years. This fall, he will attend Notre Dame-West Haven, where he was accepted into the Moreau Honor Program.
“My dad went to Notre Dame and after my own experience there shadowing, I just loved it the moment I got there,” says Davin. “I love the atmosphere and the brotherhood—you just feel welcomed as soon as you walk in. I’m really excited and I just hope I get to go.”
COVID is leaving other question marks on what Davin’s freshman year will hold. He has grown up playing soccer, basketball, and baseball, hoping to continue all three sports with Notre Dame. He also wants to explore the option of getting involved with theater in high school.
Davin first took the stage with a production in 5th grade and realized that he loved it. For the past two summers, he has taken part in a summer program through Pantochino Productions in Milford.
Last year, Davin was in the ensemble for Crybaby and this year, he was cast as Adolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone. This summer’s experience, though, is quite different from last year. Auditions were sent in by video and rehearsals are being conducted in small groups while wearing masks and face shields.
“It’s definitely been hard,” says Davin. “Being the ensemble last year was awesome and so much fun. As a cast, we were only together for two weeks, but from that, I found friends I’ll have for my whole lifetime. I’ve kept in touch with them since then. You build a bond by working really close together to perfect this piece of art.”
The stage isn’t the only place that Davin expresses his artistic talent. Like all of the members of his family, Davin enjoys music. He has played the piano since he was little, started the trumpet in 4th grade, and began playing the fife for ESCA’s fife and drump corps in 7th grade.
The fife and drum corps is led by director Brendan Mason and Davin’s twin brother, who is going into 8th grade, plays the snare drum in the club. The group rehearsed after school and marched in many parades. It also welcomes alumni to return to help the younger students and even come back to march in parades.
“My teacher suggested I try it—it’s like a wooden flute with holes instead of buttons and it was used it in the Revolutionary War,” says Davin. “Ours was the only Catholic school in the United States that has a fife and drum corps, which is pretty awesome. I just love playing the instrument and the friends I’ve made through it.”
Davin’s family all shares an interest in music with his brother Dawson playing the drums; his older sister Kaylor playing the piano, saxophone, flute, and violin; his dad David playing the organ; and his mom Shawn enjoying singing.
In addition to music, his family enjoys traveling and volunteering through their church, St. Bernadette’s. Davin and his brother spend most of their time outside playing sports and mountain biking—they even created a trail with jumps in their backyard.
Though Davin is unsure about what he would like to do in the future, he does enjoy writing. He credits this to his English teacher, Paul Santoro, who he had as a teacher for four years, two at Our Lady of Mercy and two at ESCA.
“He made me love writing and taught us to strive to meet our goals and be our best selves,” says Davin, who is also grateful to his family for their support. “My mom and dad push me to do whatever I feel is calling me in that moment. They encourage me to try new things, whether it’s a sport or instrument.”
The 2020 guide to the Madison Chamber of Commerce has arrived!