Friday, January 5, 2007

'Subway Superman' Honored

NEW YORK - A man's daring rescue of a teen who fell on the subway tracks earned him the unique title "the hero of Harlem" on Thursday, plus $10,000 from Donald Trump and a trip to Disney World.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg bestowed the title upon Wesley Autrey as he presented him with the city's highest award for civic achievement, calling the 50-year-old construction worker "a great man — a man who makes us all proud to be New Yorkers."

Past recipients of the Bronze Medallion have included Gen. Douglas MacArthur, Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Willie Mays. The last honoree was Housing Authority employee Felix Vasquez, who caught a baby thrown from a burning building in 2005.

On Tuesday, Autrey saw Cameron Hollopeter, a 19-year-old film student, suffering a seizure while waiting for a train. After stumbling down the platform, Hollopeter, of Littleton, Mass., fell onto the tracks with a train on its way into the station.

Autrey, traveling with his two young daughters, said something needed to be done and he thought: "I'm the only one to do it."

He jumped down to the tracks, a few feet below platform level, and rolled with the young man into a drainage trough between the rails as the southbound No. 1 train came into the 137th Street/City College station.

Some train cars passed over Autrey and Hollopeter with only a couple of inches to spare, but neither man suffered any harm from the incident. Hollopeter, hospitalized for his medical condition, was in stable condition Thursday.

Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot Sander called Autrey's action "a death-defying act of bravery. We truly have not seen anything like this. ... He was at the right place at the right time and did the right thing."

After the City Hall ceremony, a limousine whisked Autrey — who also received a year's worth of free subway rides — to a meeting with Trump, who presented him with $10,000.

He also has received $2,500 from the New York Film Academy to start a scholarship fund for his children, and tickets and a backstage tour to the Broadway musical "The Lion King."

Autrey, who did the morning news show circuit on Thursday and taped a David Letterman appearance later in the day, will be flown to Los Angeles for an appearance next week on Ellen DeGeneres' show.

As for his new celebrity, he concluded, "good things happen when you do good."

1 comment:

All My Base said...


Thank you.

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