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Published on : Saturday, December 5, 2015
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) today presented 57 New York City Transit workers with commendations for going above the call of duty to aid customers and law enforcement officials, stop criminal activity, contribute to more efficient and safe operation, and in many cases – save lives.
MTA New York City Transit Interim President James L. Ferrara acknowledged the employees during the annual Medals of Excellence ceremony on Friday at the MTA’s headquarters, thanking them for their bravery and dedication to their jobs. Medals and commendations are awarded annually to Transit employees for specific acts of bravery, quick thinking in potentially dangerous or fatal situations, and for excellent service in day-to-day operations.
“Today is about employees who go beyond the every day. It’s about employees who risked their lives to save others, who bravely prevented crimes, and some who just go out of their way, every day, to brighten the days and the lives of our customers,” Ferrara said.
This year’s class of honorees included 13 bus operators, five subway station agents, three subway cleaners and two conductors, among others that work at various levels of responsibility within the departments of Subways, Buses and Staten Island Railway.
Five employees were given medals for their heroism in the face of danger and acts that prevented customers or others from being injured. One of them, bus operator Gary Trim, was honored for helping to save two people from an overturned car that crashed in front of Trim’s Q54 bus on Thanksgiving Eve 2014. Trim evacuated his customers to allow them to seek safety as the car began to fill up with smoke, then extracted the driver and rescued a car passenger with the help of a courageous customer.
Other acts of heroism and quick thinking include those by bus operators who protected customers from danger such as gang disputes and shootings; bus operators who effectively evacuated customers during bus fires; revenue collection agents that put themselves in harm’s way by preventing attacks involving other employees or between customers; and subway workers that rescued customers on tracks. Bus operator Edward Green realized a customer was suffering from a stroke and brought him to a hospital, a life-saving action that moved the customer to write a letter of thanks.
Among the honorees were employees who take the MTA’s mantra of “See Something, Say Something” to heart. Biju Kurup, a subway station supervisor, received a commendation for his eagle eyes and quick action to apprehend a recidivist thief posing as a Transit worker. He spotted a man dressed as a subway car cleaner attempting to steal supplies and remembered confronting the man a year earlier for allegedly taking Transit property. He reported the suspicious activity and helped identify the suspect after a police chase. Kurup prevented a crime from being carried out and helped law enforcement apprehend a criminal known to authorities for posing as Transit employees to gain access to staff-only areas.
Another Transit employee that helped law enforcement officials apprehend a long-sought suspect was bus operator James Wilson, who prevented an alleged sexual predator from leaving his bus. Wilson was alerted to a man sexually harassing a customer by a young female customer who recognized the suspect from a previous incident. Wilson refused to allow the man to exit the bus and alerted supervisors, who notified the New York Police Department. Responding officers apprehended the suspect, who was wanted by police in connection with multiple sexual assault investigations.
The awards were presented in three areas:
The honorees were:
Heroism (5 awards; 5 recipients)
|Richard Singleton||Station agent||Broke up a knife fight over a cell phone|
|Ralph Johnson||Station agent||Stopped a subway train and rescued a customer on the tracks|
|Gary Trim||Bus operator||Rescued two people from an overturned car|
|Timothy Fairless||Bus operator||Stopped an assault on a fellow employee on a bus|
|James Wilson||Bus operator||Prevented a sexual assault suspect from leaving a bus and aided in the apprehension of the suspect|
Commendation (26 awards; 48 recipients)
|Chetram Sookwah||Subways electrical helper||Controlled a burst, frozen standpipe valve at a master tower|
|Trelane Spencer||Subways maintenance supervisor||Crossed four tracks to stop a train and rescue a customer on the tracks|
|Lance Herbert||Subway conductor||Alerted train crew and police to armed menace|
|Jonathan Cassell||Subway conductor||Restrained a customer who was attacking others|
|Carl Peterkin||Subway train operator||Rescued puppy on tracks and reunited it with owner|
|SIR general mechanics||Rescued customer on tracks after stopping train|
|Subway station cleaners||Rescued a conductor under assault by a homeless man|
|Manzour Chowdhury||Subway station agent||Sought urgent medical assistance for his relieving agent who became unresponsive|
|Biju Kurup||Subway station supervisor||Aided arrest of recidivist thief posing as Transit employee|
|Desiree Garcia||Subway station agent||Aided and comforted a teen stabbed in the neck|
Alfred W. Riley
|Subway station structure maintainers||Rescued an intoxicated customer on tracks|
Muhamed A. Rahman
|Subway station superintendent
Subway station supervisor
Subway car cleaner
|Located distressed coworker in need of medical attention|
|Joseph Landro||Subway station structure maintainer||Chased and captured fleeing assault suspect|
|Revenue equipment maintainer
Revenue collection agent
|Restrained an assailant who attempted to wrest a firearm|
|Luis Salas||Revenue collection agent||Pre-empted an attack on a cleaner|
|Terry Rosa Jr.||Revenue collection agent||De-escalated altercation between armed man and five teens|
|Derrick Boyd||Transit property protection agent||Contained a fire on a bus departing a depot|
|Special inspectors||Apprehended and detained fleeing felons|
|Steve Goldzman||Buses general superintendent||Extinguished a fire at Flatbush Depot|
Wayne R. Siewname
Peter L. Pieters
Bus line supervisor
Bus AGS maintainer
|Extinguished a fire in an ENY storage area|
|Anthony Ayoung||Bus operator||Protected customers from a gang dispute|
|Escorted a stranded, disabled customer in a snowstorm|
|Edward Green||Bus operator||Aided a man suffering a stroke and delivered him to hospital|
|Allen Caron||Bus operator||Protected 35 customers from gunshots aimed at bus|
|Kyle Cave||Bus operator||Rescued a stabbing victim on his bus|
|Bus operators||Evacuated customers during bus fires|
Distinguished service (4 awards; 4 recipients)
|Paula Smith||Subways director||Service to Department of Subways, New York City Transit and community|
|Chean Lee||Subways station agent (Lost Property Unit)||Courteous and efficient service to Lost Property Unit and customers|
|Rocco Locasio||Subway car inspector||Mentor|
|Leona Jones||Subway station agent||Service to customers and co-workers|
Nominations for honorees were sent to the MTA’s Employee Recognition Program Committee, which selected employees that met the committee’s criteria in the above mentioned categories.