Union County News

Clark Teens Receive Bravery Award After Saving Friend’s Life

Thomas Bizacko, Nick Serpe, and Nick Shipiro received the Mayor’s Certificate of Bravery for saving the life of their friend and teammate Sebastian Iakouvitch. Credits: Kristen Busch
Michelle Iakouvitch expressed her gratitude to the boys for saving her son's life after a drowning incident. Credits: Kristen Busch
Thomas Bizacko, Nick Serpe, and Nick Shipiro received the Mayor’s Certificate of Bravery for saving the life of their friend and teammate Sebastian Iakouvitch. Credits: Kristen Busch
Sebastian Iakouvitch helps Mayor Bonaccorso present certificates of bravery to his friends for saving his life. Credits: Kristen Busch
Friends, family, and teammates were in attendance for the presentation. Credits: Kristen Busch

CLARK, NJ – Mayor Sal Bonaccorso and the Clark Town Council presented the Mayor’s Certificate of Bravery to teens Thomas Bizacko, Nick Serpe, and Nick Shipiro for saving the life of their friend and teammate Sebastian Iakouvitch.

“On July 5th, I received that dreaded phone call no parent would want to get,” said Iakouvitch’s mother, Michelle Iakouvitch.  “I never thought it would be a swimming incident, drowning, because I prided myself in teaching Sebastian to swim at 13 months to be able to save himself.  He is an excellent swimmer.”

In an email to the mayor and council, Iakouvitch’s mother explained that her son was submerged under water for over four minutes. Iakouvitch’s friends noticed that he was struggling in the pool and jumped into action. Serpe went into the deep end of the pool to begin pulling Iakouvitch out with the help of Shipiro and Bizacko.

Sign Up for E-News

Her email went on to explain the Iakouvitch was taken to JFK Hospital where he was diagnosed with bilateral pneumonia and pulmonary edema. Iakouvitch was able to walk out of the hospital on his own.

“An estimated 5,000 children are hospitalized and 15 percent die in the hospital. As many as 20 percent of them suffer from permanent neurological disability,” said Iakouvitch’s mother.  “As I read you the statistics I give you an idea of how things could have been so different and I want to thank once again Nick Shipiro, Nick Serpe and Thomas Bizacko for saving my son’s life.”

“It’s an honor for me to recognize these young men for saving someone’s life and being such great citizens,” said Bonaccorso. “We thank you on behalf of myself and the township council.”

Just this spring, Iakouvitch and his mother lost everything they owned in a Sunday morning fire.  Friends and community jumped to create a GoFundMe page to help the family get back on their feet.

“Whenever people are in need, that’s when this town really rises to the occasion,” said Bonaccorso.  “It’s so amazing and so incredible.”

“I will forever be grateful to those boys, JFK Hospital’s doctors and staff and the first responders,” said Iakouvitch’s mother.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


NJ Flags to Fly at Half-Staff for Jerry Green May 7

April 24, 2018

TRENTON, NJ — Governor Phil Murphy issued an executive order on Monday for New Jersey flags to be flown at half-staff at all state buildings and facilities on the day of the upcoming General Assembly session, scheduled for May 7, in memory of Assemblyman Jerry Green, former chair of the Union County Democratic Committee, who died last week.

On Thursday, Governor Murphy had said, ...

2018 Municipal Budget is on Collision Course with Principles of Financial Soundness & Stability

April 18, 2018

Having chaired the town council’s finance committee in the recent past, I appreciate the hard work that goes into developing a municipal budget for a town as large and dynamic as Westfield. But as I have expressed publicly and also to the mayor and my council colleagues, I do not support the adoption of Westfield’s 2018 municipal budget. Although the budget contains much that I ...

Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 10:00 AM

Westfield Memorial Library, Westfield

Westfield Memorial Library Spring Book Sale

Arts & Entertainment

Wed, April 25, 12:00 PM

Temple Emanu-El, Westfield

Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Kroloff

Religions And Spirituality


Wed, April 25, 7:30 PM

Rialto NewVision Theater, Westfield

Jewish Film Festival of Central NJ - Ben Gurion: ...

Arts & Entertainment

Westfield Police Blotter: Residence Burglarized & More

April 18, 2018

April 11, 2018 10:23 a.m.

Raymond Rodgers, 56, of Westfield, NJ was arrested in the area of E. Broad Street. Rodgers was arrested pursuant to an unrelated traffic investigation. Rogers was transported to Westfield Police HQ without incident. At WPD HQ, Rodgers was processed and released after posting the full bail amount ($250). Rodgers was arrested on the strength of an outstanding Westfield ...

Learning to Fly Drones at Lamberts Mill Academy

April 24, 2018

Thanks to a very generous donation from the Columbia Bank Foundation the students at Lamberts Mill Academy are learning how to build, program and fly drones. This innovative program will ensure that students gain skills needed for 21st Century employment. 


Lamberts Mill Academy, located in Westfield, New Jersey, is part of the Union County Educational Services Commission.

Ways to Increase Your Home's Equity

Sometimes you forget and don’t realize your home provides so much to your life. It brings along with it your dreams of the future, shelter to you and your family, a way to provide a better lifestyle, a better commute, a neighborhood, schools, community involvement and recreational facilities. But it also provides a way to save for the future. It does this by allowing you to build your ...

Westfield Public Schools Welcomes Community to Auditorium Open Houses

Two years ago, voters in Westfield approved a bond referendum to renovate the aging auditoriums in Edison and Roosevelt Intermediate Schools. Major aspects of the renovations include new seating and flooring, electrical and lighting upgrades, state-of-the-art sound systems, acoustical treatments and air conditioning.

On April 11 and 12, students, staff, families and other members of the ...

'The Sting' shimmers and shakes at Paper Mill

‘The Sting ‘slithers and shakes at Paper Mill Playhouse


MILLBURN, NJ – In a premiere production of “The Sting,” Harry Connick Jr. commands the Paper Mill Playhouse stage in Millburn.

Based on the sensational Paul Newman/Robert Redford film in 1973, the 1930s plot centers on a con game and gambling, sometimes on a train between New York and ...

Why We Keep Kosher

Why We Keep Kosher

This week's parshah, Shemini, introduces the Torah's dietary laws. Animals must chew their cud and have split hooves to be kosher, fish need fins and scales, and a list of forbidden fowl is enumerated.

To those of us in Jewish education, it is a continuing source of disappointment that so many Jews still believe the kosher laws to be outdated.

Hellenic Therapy Center

April 13, 2018

Dropping Off Our Kids At College – Learning How To Adjust

Hellenic Therapy Center


Whether your kid is a freshman entering college for the first time or returning back to college, there are so many emotions we experience as parents.  There are differences in a parent’s reaction to the departure of a first child, an only child or even the last child.  Feelings ...


Oct 21, 1944 - Apr 14, 2018
Kathleen A. Hertell passed away peacefully with family at her bedside on April 14, 2018. Loving ...
Read more

‘A Sad Day for Paterson’ as Police Officer Loses Life in Car Crash

April 23, 2018

PATERSON, NJ — On what Paterson Superior Officers Association President Mason Maher called “a sad day for Paterson,” a city police officer lost his life on Sunday after he was involved in a motor vehicle collision while on duty.

Several sources familiar with Sunday’s tragic accident have identified the fallen officer as Tamby Yagan, a 13-year veteran of the ...