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    Albany, N.Y. – 04/29/2014 – Senator Greg Ball (R, C, I –Patterson), Chairman of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee, recognized two Yorktown residents on the New York State Senate Floor on Monday afternoon.

    Brian Avery and Robert Cole were officially recognized by the New York State Senate with a Senate Resolution for their heroism in rescuing Maria Eliseo from her burning home on Sunday, November 24, 2013 in Yorktown Heights, NY.

    “Brian Avery and Robert Cole are true heroes. I commend them for their swift and heroic efforts that saved Maria and her daughter from a house fire. I was proud to bring these gentlemen up to Albany to personally thank them for their quick actions,” said Senator Greg Ball. 

    Brian Avery, a 48-year old National Guardsman, husband and father of two, and Robert Cole, a 49-year-old husband and father of two with no firefighter training, saved the life of Maria Eliseo, a 48-year-old wife and mother of three who had just had hip surgery and had been asleep when the fire broke out.

    Brian saw flames at the house and ran to help; after unsuccessfully attempting to shimmy up a column onto the roof, he ran back to his home to grab a ladder.

    Robert was driving on his way to a breakfast celebration of his 14th wedding anniversary when he saw smoke; he quickly unfastened his seat belt and followed the smoke until he reached the house.

    After being told there was a woman upstairs, Robert looked up and saw the victim with her head and shoulders jutting out of the bathroom window, smoke billowing all around; he also tried to climb to the home’s second floor with no success.

    Brian Avery made it back to the home with a ladder and saw Robert; with no thought for their own safety, the two strangers swung into action, a model of spontaneous teamwork.

    Brian climbed up first through dense smoke, followed by Robert, who went onto the roof; together they got Maria out of the bathroom window and Brian Avery guided her down to safety, while Robert remained on the roof to get her securely on the ladder. Within two minutes of the rescue, the entire home was engulfed in flames.

    “I am very honored to be recognized for my efforts on November 24th, by Senator Ball and the New York State Senate. This is something that I surly was not expecting. To be called a hero however, does not sit comfortably with me though. Having spent over ten years flying in and out of Iraq and Afghanistan, I have come across my fair share of true heroes. I am not in their league,” said Brian Avery. “I would like to stress the importance of home fire safety. That day taught me a lot. I firmly believe that not only should every home should be equipped with fire extinguishers and smoke detectors, but they should have escape ladders as well, for any bedroom above the first floor.”

    “It was an honor to have Senator Ball host me and my family at the capital yesterday. The memories will be engraved in our minds for a long time to come. I never would have thought that looking out for someone’s life in a crisis would lead to such a special day for me and my family. Thanks again for the honor,” said Robert Cole. 

    For more information, please contact or (845) 531-9796