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New Yorker risks life.

Most Americans have probably heard the name Wesley Autrey by now, but the story of this man's selfless heroism deserves repeating, so long as there is one among us who has not heard about it.

Back on January 2, Mr. Autrey was waiting on the southbound platform of New York's 137th Street/City College subway station in Harlem with his two young daughters, when he saw a young man fall backward on the platform and go into convulsions. The youth was later identified as Cameron Hollopeter, 19, of Littleton, Massachusetts, a student at the New York Film Academy.

Autrey bent down and helped clear Hollopeter's breathing passages, and he thought the young man was alright. But as Hollopeter stood up, he lost his balance, falling onto the subway tracks, just as the Number 1 train pulled into the station. Autrey jumped in after Hollopeter, but had difficulty in getting him off the tracks as the train drew closer.

Running out of time, Autrey dragged Hollopeter into a shallow trough between the tracks just before the train reached them. At least two cars passed over them, with about 2 inches to spare, and the train came to an emergency stop above them.

After the train stopped, Autrey yelled out to bystanders: "We're okay down here but I've got two daughters up there. Let them know their father's okay," the New York Times reported.

Autrey was modest about his heroism from the beginning. When spectators hugged him and praised him as a hero, he downplayed their attention. He told the Times: "I don't feel like I did something spectacular; I just saw someone who needed help. I did what I felt was right."

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented Autrey with the Bronze Medallion at a City Hall ceremony. "Wesley's astonishing bravery is an inspiration not just to New Yorkers, but the entire world," said the mayor.

But the hero remained humble. "I'm still saying I'm not a hero ... 'cause I believe all New Yorkers should get into that type of mode," Autrey said on CBS's The Early Show on January 4. "You should do the right thing."
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Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Date:Feb 19, 2007
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