ELLIS ISLAND - Two families who were rescued from a capsized boat off the coast of Ellis Island last week were reunited with their rescuer.

Diogo Fernandes and Antonio Rodrigues were on the boat, each with their two children, when something caused it to capsize. Kevin Suarez, an employee with Statue Cruises, immediately leapt into action to save the group.

When Suarez got to the boat, he was told that there was a young girl trapped underneath. He was able to pull the 5-year-old girl out and also helped the others in the water to get to safety.

“It’s an instant decision and being selfless and fearless,” Statue Cruises CEO Terry Macrae says of Suarez.

Suarez says that he was eager to meet the families again.

“My heart was beating,” he says. “I was very excited to see them again all safe and well.”

Suarez says that he wants to be a Jersey City firefighter or police officer, and he’s also been invited to try out for the United States Coast Guard.

“I just want to protect the people,” he says. “That’s what I’m here for.”

Fernandes and Rodrigues say that they will forever be thankful to Suarez for making sure their children were safe.