State Senator Kevin Parker (D-Brooklyn) recently introduced a Senate resolution honoring a <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Harlem resident for his quick-thinking actions that saved a seizure-stricken student on a New York City subway track.
Senate Resolution 35, honoring Wesley Autrey, was co-sponsored and passed unanimously by all of Senator Parker’s colleagues in a bipartisan display of appreciation for the 50-year-old construction worker and military veteran, whose selfless act of heroism earned him national
The resolution, in part, lauded Autrey for “his spontaneous and valiant actions, demonstrating his character and his compassion for the welfare of others, personifying, by virtue of his actions, the collective concern of ordinary citizens across the community of the State of New York who voluntarily respond when others are in need of help; he is a hero and a true asset to society.”
“That so many of my colleagues -- Democrat and Republican – would sign on to my resolution shows that heroism is a personal characteristic that should be celebrated by all, regardless of party affiliation,” Senator Parker said.
Autrey and his two daughters were waiting for a train at the station on137th Street
and Broadway when he saw 20-year-old film school student Cameron Hollopeter collapse on a platform while suffering a seizure. Autrey put a pen in the young man’s mouth to keep him from swallowing his tongue. Once Hollopeter rose to his feet, however, he staggered and fell off the
With no time to spare, and with complete disregard for his personal safety, Autrey used his own body to pin Hollopeter down in a nearly two-foot trench between the tracks as an oncoming train rolled above them and screeched to a halt. Both men escaped without a scratch -- save for a
few smudges of grease on Autrey’s hat.
“It has been said that there is no greater love that one man has thanthe one he shows in laying down his life for his friends,” Senator Parker said. “How much stronger, then, is that love, when coming to the aid of a total stranger? Wes Autrey says he is not a hero. Thousands of New Yorkers and millions of Americans who would humbly submit otherwise.”
Senator Parker said Autrey’s actions are significant for another reason.
“Every February, we celebrate Black History Month, and the men and women who defy adversity to make history and become heroes,” Senator Parker said. “Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Jackie Robinson, Charles Drew and the Tuskeegee Airmen come to mind. But the annual celebration is also about ordinary people who do extraordinary things others might have a second thought about doing. As an African-American, a native New Yorker and a state lawmaker, I am proud to honor Wesley Autrey and represent everyday heroes just like him.”