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PR- 002-07
January 4, 2007


Autrey Given Bronze Medallion - Highest Award For Civic Achievement

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented Harlem resident Wesley Autrey with the Bronze Medallion - the City's highest award for exceptional citizenship and outstanding achievement - for his bravery in saving the life of Cameron Hollopeter, a film student who fell on the #1 line subway tracks following a seizure on Tuesday. Metropolitan Transportation Authority Executive Director Elliot "Lee" Sander also presented Autrey with the first of 12 30-day unlimited Metrocards. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, and Autrey's family also attended the award ceremony at City Hall.

"Wesley's astonishing bravery - saving a life in the face on an oncoming subway car - is an inspiration not just to New Yorkers, but the entire world," said Mayor Bloomberg. "His courageous rescue of a complete stranger is a reminder of how we are surrounded by everyday heroes in New York City, and I am deeply honored to recognize one of them today."

"By selflessly leaping to the aid of a fellow New Yorker and performing a type of heroic act nearly unrecallable to the memories of veteran transit workers, Wesley Autrey has captured the spirit of our city," said Executive Director Sander. "On behalf of Governor Eliot Spitzer, MTA Chairman Peter Kalikow and the entire MTA family, I too want to extend our thanks and appreciation to Mr. Autrey for what he did Tuesday morning."

While 50-year-old construction worker Autrey was on the 137th Street station platform with his two young daughters - Shuqui, 6, and Syshe, 4 - he saw Cameron Hollopeter in the midst of a seizure. Autrey rushed to help Hollopeter, briefly stabilizing him. But then Hollopeter fell onto the tracks just as a train was nearing the station. Autrey did not hesitate to jump off the platform in the face of an oncoming train to save Hollopeter's life, holding him down in the space between the two subway rails. Although the train passed not more than inches above Autrey's head, he was not harmed. Autrey called out to his daughters to let them know he was alive, and the subway platform reportedly erupted with applause.

Although relatively small in size (measuring only 2 ¾ inches), the City's Bronze Medallion is of great prestige. Designed by the late Michael Lantz - best known for his 1938 sculpture in front of the Federal Trade Commission building in Washington, DC - the Bronze Medallion is the City's highest civic award. Past honorees include General Douglas MacArthur, Martin Luther King, Jr., Muhammad Ali, and Willie Mays. The last recipient of the medallion was Housing Authority employee Felix Vasquez, who caught a baby thrown from a burning building in 2005.


Stu Loeser / Matthew Kelly   (212) 788-2958

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