Getting What He Deserves!

Wesley Autrey was honored today at a ceremony inside City Hall. Here is the story courtesy of NY1:

The subway Samaritan was welcomed as a hero at City Hall today.
Wesley Autrey was greeted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, two days after saving a man who had fallen onto the tracks at the 137th Street station. Autrey was given a medal, 12 free unlimited ride Metrocards and a trip to Disneyworld.

He says while the honors are nice, he was just doing what anyone would have done.
“I wasn’t expecting any of this,” said Autrey. “The free ride for the whole year. I mean, I’m grateful for everything. I guess good things happen when you do good, and that’s what I’m saying. All New Yorkers, we need to do good.

Autrey’s also making the TV rounds, taping an appearance on the David Letterman Show.
Cameron Hollopeter, 20, suffered a seizure and when he fell off the platform. That’s when Autrey jumped into action, squeezing himself and Hollopeter into a small space between the rails, barely avoiding an oncoming train.

The Hollopeter family has nothing but thanks for Autrey. In a statement, they said Autrey is “a hero in every sense of the word, and truly a blessing from the Almighty. He deserves all of the attention and the accolades that are now being bestowed upon him.”

They say Cameron and Autrey had a very emotional and private meeting Wednesday.
The family says they are grateful to everyone near and far who have expressed their best wishes to Cameron.

Here is a longer story about today’s ceremony courtesy of 1010 Wins:

The construction worker who rescued a stranger from an oncoming subway train has become a national hero.
But Wesley Autrey doesn’t see it that way.

“I’m still saying I’m not a hero … ’cause I believe all New Yorkers should get into that type of mode,’’ he said on CBS’ “The Early Show’’ Thursday. “You should do the right thing.’’

On an interview that aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America’’: “I don’t want people to blow this out of proportion.’’

Nonetheless, Autrey’s phone has been ringing off the hook — some of the callers complete strangers so inspired by his bravery that they offered rewards. Autrey even got a call from Donald Trump’s people, offering a $10,000 check.

Besides appearing on several morning television shows Thursday, he was set to tape an appearance on David Letterman’s CBS “Late Show.’’

Around noon Thursday, he visited City Hall and was honored by Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg presented Autrey with “The Bronze Medallion” at City Hall Thursday — the city’s highest award for civic achievement.

He was also given 12 months worth of free Metro subway cards.
Quite the day for the 50-year-old construction worker and father of three.

It’s all hitting me now,’’ Wesley Autrey said Wednesday as he reflected on his risky rescue of a 19-year-old who had fallen onto a subway track as a train was approaching.

Looking back on his dramatic decision to jump onto to the tracks and push the young man into a gap between the rails, Autrey said he told himself, “Wow, you did something pretty stupid.’’

But even knowing that he narrowly escaped injury or potentially death, the 50-year-old Harlem construction worker doesn’t regret his choice.

“I did something to save someone’s life,’’ Autrey said.

Waiting for a downtown Manhattan train, he saw Cameron Hollopeter, a film student, suffering from some kind of medical episode. 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, knew he had to do something.

“If I let him stay there by himself, he’s going to be dismembered,’’ the Navy veteran remembered thinking.

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

The train’s operator saw someone on the tracks and put the emergency brakes on. 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 was taken to a nearby hospital; Autrey refused medical attention — and then went to work.

Autrey went by the hospital on Wednesday afternoon for a visit with Hollopeter and his family. After, he and Hollopeter’s father addressed reporters.

“Mr. Autrey’s instinctive and unselfish act saved our son’s life,’’ dad Larry Hollopeter said, his voice choking up. “There are no words to properly express our gratitude and feelings for his actions.’’

The unusual rescue with its happy ending brought the media horde to Autrey. He spent the day doing interviews, mainly at his mother’s apartment, where his sister Linda had been pressed into service as phone answerer and scheduler.

Calls came in from all over the country, offering rewards, as people found themselves inspired by Autrey’s bravery.

His mother was beaming over him.

“It was dangerous, what he done, but I’m proud of him, that God had him in the right place at the right time so he could help somebody,’’ Mary Autrey said. “That’s our upbringing, helping people.’’

I am glad that Mayor Bloomberg held this ceremony today as the man deserved it. I know he doesn’t consider himself a hero but many would not have attempted what he did. I am glad to see he got some nice gifts & cash out of it. While I’m sure he wouldn’t ask for it, this is a case where he wouldn’t be wrong to have done so. However leave it to “The Donald” to get some PR out of the deal!

Wesley Autrey, you will always be a hero!

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Farewell Lawrence Reuter

Lawrence Reuter has announced he is stepping down as NYC Transit President. Here is a story about it courtesy of New York Business:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority said on Wednesday that New York City Transit President Lawrence Reuter is stepping down from the post he’s held for the past decade.

The MTA did not name a successor but said Mr. Reuter would stay on through early February.

Mr. Reuter is leaving to take a position with a large engineering firm in Florida, and said the opportunity “be closer to my grandchildren was too appealing to turn down.” The name of the engineering firm wasn’t immediately available.

During his tenure with NYC Transit, the 55-year-old is credited with improving customer service, implementing fare incentives and overseeing efficiency improvements for both the subway and bus fleets.

NYC Transit’s annual subway ridership increased by 31% to 1.45 billion, between 1996 and 2005, reaching the highest level since the Authority’s creation in 1953. Bus ridership grew even faster, as annual ridership increased by 53% to 736 million, among the highest levels in the past 30 years.

His tenure wasn’t entirely tarnish-free. Mr. Reuter made headlines in 2005, when the State Ethics Commission accused him of accepting $633 in improper gifts, like golf outings and circus tickets, from companies doing business with the MTA. He agreed to pay a $1,200 fine to settle the charges.

I was shocked to hear that Mr. Reuter was stepping down. Unless I missed some talk about it, I didn’t think any change would be happening at his position. The major person I expected to go was Peter Kalikow. Overall I have to commend the job Mr. Reuter did during his tenure. The MTA while still with a lot of work to do, did get some positive things done mainly because of Mr. Reuter. May his next job tenure be as successful if not more.

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A Feelgood Story

Continuing with updates on the latest transit happenings, a new baby was welcomed into the world at the Broadway Junction station last night. Here is the story courtesy of NY1

A newborn baby and mom are doing fine after a special delivery on the L subway platform last night, and they have three of the city’s finest to thank.

The 24-year-old woman went into labor shortly before 10 p.m. at the Broadway Junction station in Brooklyn. Transit police officers Bruno Valenti, Brian Higgins and Leslie Grant responded and helped deliver the baby. Sergeant Valenti is a trained EMT.

Police say the mother was already in labor when the officers got there, and the baby was delivered before the ambulance arrived.

I am glad that the delivery went without complications. I would like to take this time to congratulate the three officers on a great job. Lastly I would like to wish the mother & her new child all the best in 2007 & beyond.

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Truck Hits Elevated Subway Overpass

While trying to catch up on the latest transit happenings, I came across the story of a truck hitting a subway overpass in Brooklyn. Here is the story courtesy of NY1:

A major road in Brooklyn was closed for hours after a truck plowed into a train overpass Wednesday.

Service on the L train between Broadway Junction and Rockaway Parkway resumed shortly after 9 a.m.

Shortly after 8 a.m., a tractor trailer crashed into the overpass at Linden Boulevard and Junius Street in Brownsville.

A small amount of fuel spilled on the road. Fire officials say there are no injuries.

I find it odd that I heard nothing about it on the news last night. I wonder how bad it hampered subway service. If this caused problems with your commute, I’d love to hear about it so leave a comment.

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I Hope You Have Good Vision

So the new MTA Director Elliot “Lee” Sander plans to ride the subway to see what needs work. Here is a short story about it courtesy of NY1:

The MTA’s new executive director says he has got a plan to help him get a sense of what awaits him when he begins work.
Elliot “Lee” Sander says he plans to visit most of the major MTA facilities in the next two to three months.
He also plans to ride many of the lines.

Sander is a former city transportation commissioner.
He plans to make anti-terror efforts a priority.

Mr. Sander’s plan sounds nice & all but I hope it is not a PR stunt. I also hope the man has good vision so he can see the true condition of the NYC Subway. The line in the story that struck a chord was the mention of visiting the “major” MTA facilities.

The truth of the matter is the real problems are usually at the stations people don’t visit while doing PR tours. Just look at the condition of the 205th St terminal in the Bronx, the 21 St/Van Alst Ave, any of the stops along Sea Beach, etc… & you will see the sorry conditions employees & riders must deal with everyday. No matter what borough you are in, the horrible conditions stand out like an eyesore!

I hope while he is out riding many of the lines, he actually gets off & takes a look around. The truth can not always be seen while riding a train. The truth shows itself to those who really want to find it. Lets hope that with the new year comes a man who wants to find the truth & has good vision to boot!

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