The authorities thanked the 27-year-old mechanic for his timely intervention and lauded his bravery during the crisis.
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.
'THE WILL TO SURVIVE: Jay Withey tells "Tucker Carlson Tonight" what led him to save dozens of people who were stranded by the Buffalo blizzard. pic.twitter.com/4bwpfLX1DX— Fox News (@FoxNews) December 31, 2022
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.
A photo of Cheektowaga Police Chief Brian Gould and HERO Jay Withey who pulled people from cars & sheltered them in a nearby school during the blizzard. Police Chief Gould commended Jay for his heroic actions ❤️💙 THANK YOU JAY!! pic.twitter.com/XgaFAXym9r— Niagara Action (@NiagaraAction) December 30, 2022
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