President Obama met with Damian and Glenda Moore during his visit to Staten Island yesterday to survey Hurricane Sandy damage. The Moores lost their two sons Brandon and Connor Moore, aged 4 and 2, who died after being swept away in Hurricane Sandy.
Their mother Glenda was forced to flee her stalled car on Staten Islandduring the hurricane and sought refuge in a nearby house where she was refused entry.
Soon after, her kids were swept away and were found 30 hours later in a nearby swamp.
Damian Moore, a native of Donegal, and a sanitation worker who had been called in to work during the hurricane, and his wife were singled out for their bravery by the president.
He also praised Irish American cop Lieutenant Kevin Gallagher who stayed with the family during their dreadful ordeal as their kids were missing.
Read more news on Hurricane Sandy here
"I had the opportunity to give some hugs and communicate thoughts and prayers to the Moore family," Obama said about Damien and Glenda Moore.
"They lost two young sons during the course of this tragedy. And obviously, I expressed to them, as a father, as a parent, my heartbreak over what they went through. And they're still obviously a little shell-shocked."
He said the Moores singled out Lieutenant Gallagher for particular praise. "For staying with them and doing everything he could so that ultimately, they knew what had happened with the boys, and were able to recover their bodies, and has been with them as a source of support ever since.
"That's not in the job description of Lieutenant Gallagher. He did that because that's what so many of our first responders do," he added.
"I'm very proud of you, New York," said the president, "you guys are tough."
Gallagher, 46,is head of District Attorney Daniel Donovan's NYPD detective squad. He is a 24-year veteran of the police force and has earned 64 police medals during his career.