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Man saves 24 lives after breaking into school during deadly winter storm. He then left an apology note

The authorities thanked the 27-year-old mechanic for his timely intervention and lauded his bravery during the crisis.

Man saves 24 lives after breaking into school during deadly winter storm. He then left an apology note
Cover Image Source: Facebook | Cheektowaga Police Department

A 27-year-old mechanic from Kenmore, New York, is being hailed as a hero after he saved several people and two dogs after he broke into a Buffalo-area school on December 23. Jay Withey broke into a nearby school in New York's Erie County to find shelter during the blizzard but ended up going back out into the deadly storm searching for those who need help. He ended up rescuing 24 people stranded on the roadside, putting them out of harm's way.



What's more endearing is that the young hero even left an apology note for the staff at Pine Hill School and the police. “To whomever it may concern, I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window and for breaking in the kitchen,” it read. “Got stuck at 8 pm Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers, just trying not to die,” it continued. “There were 7 elderly people also stuck and out of fuel. I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter and food and a bathroom.” He signed the letter, “Merry Christmas Jay.”



Police have since praised his actions and lauded his efforts as heroic. "The selflessness that people showed to help others during the storm is what WNY (Western New York) is really made of," the Cheektowaga Police Department posted on its Facebook page. "This group of amazing people took care of each other and the building they found shelter in." Initially, they didn't know who the mystery hero was until they later "identified the amazing Jay with the help of his friends and family!" the police department said on Facebook. "Our Chief was able to speak to him and express our gratitude for his heroic actions." 



Police Chief Brian Gould told CNN  that officials were "absolutely shocked to see that he had over 20 people in the school (and) two dogs,” he said. “Not only a heroic action, but just an overall good person. He definitely saved some lives that day,” Gould said. During the storm, many people were out of fuel and trapped in the blizzard. BBC reports that at least 39 people died in the area and it is believed to be one of the hardest hit by the storm. "It was the only time in my life I actually thought I was going to die," Withey said in a local radio interview. Withey, who describes himself as a religious man believes "everything happens for a reason," because had he found shelter somewhere, many lives could have potentially been lost. 



This is a developing story, and we’ll update you as we learn more. Information about the Buffalo snowstorm is swiftly changing, and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency of developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication. You can check for information and seek help at Buffalo Blizzard Resources.

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