Three Ordinary New Yorkers Perform Extraordinary Rescues
01/06/2007 01:02 PM
It is not often that we can look back on a week and find two stories that make us feel so good as human beings. But this first week of the new year is one of those times. And as NY1’s Sandra Endo reports, we can thank our New Yorkers of the Week.
"This is the year of 2007 where you have to thank God, and all our miracle angels, that these guys were around at a time when that little angel needed them,” said Luis Gonzales of the men that caught a toddler after he fell from a window.
Just a few days into the New Year and New Yorkers already have three heroes to look up to.
"This is the week of heroes in New York," said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Three ordinary New Yorkers, Bronx buddies Julio Gonzalez and Pedro Navarez, who caught a child falling from a building, and construction worker Wesley Autrey, who saved a man from almost certain death under a subway train, became heroes.
On Tuesday Autrey jumped down after art student Cameron Hollopeter, who had fallen onto the subway tracks. With only seconds to react and a downtown Number 1 train rumbling toward them, Autrey covered Hollopeter with his own body as the subway cars rolled over them. Both men escaped without injury.
"No, I don't consider myself a hero,” said Autrey. “I just went to someone's aid, someone who was in need of help."
Autrey became the toast of City Hall.
"It left a huge impression on the rest of us," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
And he also became a guest on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”
On Wednesday, Autrey and Hollopeter were reunited at St. Luke's Hospital, where Hollopeter's father gave his thanks.
"Mr. Autrey's instinctive and unselfish act saved our son's life,” said Larry Hollopeter. “There are no words to properly express our gratitude and feelings for his actions."
Perhaps the most appropriate gift came from Autrey's boss, after he showed up late for work.
"My boss saw it on the internet and said ÎI might have to buy you a hero sandwich,’" recalled Autrey.
And speaking of heroes, just two days after Autrey's subway rescue, Julio Gonzalez and Pedro Navarez saw 3-year-old Timothy Addo dangling from a fourth floor fire escape in the Bronx after crawling through an open window. As the boy lost his grip, the two raced underneath and caught him in their arms.
"I ran across the street, I wasn't looking for any cars,” recalled Navarez. “I said ÎGod please let me get under him. If I can get under him, I promised I won't let him hit the floor.’"
“It's fortunate that [Navarez] was standing right next to me, because [Addo] actually bounced right off of me,” said Gonzalez. “I couldn't get a good grip, so [Navarez] caught him.”
And so for acting quickly and without concern for their own safety, Wesley Autrey, Julio Gonzalez and Pedro Navarez truly deserve to be the New Yorkers of the Week.
- Produced by Robbie Sosa
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