Treble life-saver Mello is Hero of the Year
Sidney Mello would not describe himself as a hero, but the 22-year-old from St David's has already saved three lives.
Now he has been named the Hero of the Year 2017 by the Kiwanis Club of St George's after he risked his own life to rescue three people from the sea.
Mr Mello said: “It was nice that people noticed. I was proud of myself but I only did what I felt I should, so I wouldn't consider myself to be a hero. But it was nice that people thought I was.
“They saw it in the paper and those guys are kind to want to recognise me for it. A man contacted me via Facebook. It was pretty surprising. I was shocked.”
Mr Mello, a beach attendant at the Rosewood Tucker's Point hotel, jumped into the waters off South Shore to rescue a woman on September 16 last year. He said: “I was just on the beach and I heard somebody call for help but it was faint because it was windy. I went into the water and I did my best to retrieve the lady.”
Mr Mello, who has previously spoken about how he held the women above water so she could breathe as waves crashed down on them, added: “I'm not a lifeguard — I'm a beach attendant.
“It's not really my job but I did what I felt was necessary.”
After details about the rescue were made public, Mr Mello was praised by staff at the hotel, where he is known for his professionalism.
But it was not the first time he came to the aid of a struggling swimmer. About a year before, he jumped into the ocean to help a father and his young daughter out of the water.
Mr Mello said: “It was a calm day. I heard someone shout for help so I ran down the bank and I got in. It was a man and his daughter and I pulled them both out of the water.”
But he said he never feared for his life.
Mr Mello said: “I grew up in St David's, so I could swim before I could walk. I was pretty confident that I would be all right.
“I was just really scared for them. The water was really rough and getting back in was quite scary.”
Mr Mello, who started working at the hotel straight out of high school, also has an associates degree in fine art and design from Bermuda College.
He now plans to pursue his passion overseas and is applying to attend the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.
Mr Mello said: “I want to get my bachelor's in drawing and painting and then eventually do a double major in drawing, painting and animation. One day I hope to create video games or short films.
“Drawing and painting is my passion but I've always liked video games and I think it would be pretty cool to create one of my own, or at least help create one.”
Mr Mello was presented with the Hero of the Year Award at a dinner at the St George's Club last week.
Daron Lowe, one of the directors of the Kiwanis Club of St George's, said they chose Mr Mello after reading about his heroic actions.
Mr Lowe explained: “We looked for a person who went out of their way, potentially at risk to their own life, to help or save another.”
He said they wanted to pick someone who was not trained as part of their profession to save lives. Mr Lowe added that they also wanted “to acknowledge our hero within a short time after the event and not just years afterwards”.
He said: “Why not recognise our heroes — especially our young heroes — now, while they need the encouragement?”
Mr Lowe added: “We wish Sidney all the best in his future as we acknowledge that he is an inspiration to all.
“He is a special young man and it was an honour to present him as the Hero of the Year.”