Hero Awards

The 100 Club of Buffalo holds multiple annual events every year in order to support our local community support activities.


New York State Trooper William L. Persinger
Town of Lewiston Police Officer Scott E. Stafford
On Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at approximately 6:06am, 911 dispatchers reported a home invasion in which a “crazy man” with a shotgun had gained entry to a residence occupied by a family of four in the Town of Porter. The Town of Lewiston Police were the first on the scene and attempted to check on the welfare of the family, upon entering the residence they heard a male yelling from an upstairs room and took a position at the base of the stairs. A few minutes later, Troopers William Persinger and Ryan Burns along with a Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy arrived on scene and secured the perimeter of the residence. Trooper Persinger was able to initiate negotiations with the suspect who indicated that someone was chasing him and that he wanted the police to leave or he would start stabbing the residents (a man, woman and two children) Trooper Persinger was able to negotiate the release of one of the children.
The suspect then threatened to start killing people if the police did not leave. This was confirmed by the male homeowner who also asked them to leave as the suspect had a knife to his throat. Trooper Persinger told the suspect that the police were leaving the house but directed them to remain quiet and stay inside. At this point Trooper Persinger contacted the suspect via cell phone and requested he talk to him through an open window where he observed the suspect slash the window screen with the knife. At this time the homeowner attempted to grab the knife and struggled with the suspect when the suspect began stabbing the homeowner. Trooper Persinger along with Officer Stafford proceeded upstairs where they found the suspect and homeowner who was covered in a large amount of blood struggling in a bathroom. Trooper Persinger pushed his way past the homeowner allowing the suspect to come at him with the knife. Trooper Persinger grabbed the suspects right hand which held the knife and Officer Stafford deployed his taser allowing Trooper Persinger to disarm him and with the assistance of all the officers at the scene, take him into custody. The remaining family members were safely removed from the residence while the male homeowner received medical treatment before being transported to the Erie County Medical Center where he recovered from his injuries. Follow up investigation revealed the suspect was on parole for two previous felony convictions and was under the influence of narcotic drugs when he committed this crime
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Trooper William L. Persinger and Officer Scott E. Stafford for their heroic actions of August 4, 2010.
City of Buffalo Firefighter William Sanford
On Friday, January 1, 2010 Firefighter William Sanford who, just a few hours into the new year, was dispatched along with the balance of the firefighters assigned to Ladder 1 to a structure fire at 47 Woeppel St in the City of Buffalo. Upon arrival, and finding the two and a half story structure engulfed in flames, Firefighter Sanford, in spite of the added perilous conditions of high heat and smoke entered the structure to conduct a primary search. During this search, Firefighter Sanford located and removed an unconscious victim from a room immediately adjacent to the fire.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Firefighter William Sanford for his swift and heroic actions of January 1, 2010.
East Aurora Police Officer Joseph M. Ferrara
Rural Metro Medical Services Paramedic Michael P. Leuer
East Aurora Middle School Teacher Christopher S. Koselny
On Wednesday, November 10, 2010, Rural Metro Paramedic Michael Leuer was dispatched to a child drowning call at the East Aurora Middle School. Mr. Leuer was led to the pool area where the School Resource Officer Joseph Ferrara of the East Aurora PD and Middle School Phys. Ed. Teacher Christopher Koselny were performing CPR on a young boy. The scene was very chaotic with staff and classmates in shock by what was transpiring. Mr. Leuer brought calm to those in the area while Ferrara and Koselny continued CPR. Once calm was restored, Mr. Leuer assessed the situation and learned that Mr. Koselny had spotted the unresponsive child in the water during normal swimming exercises, removed him and called SRO Ferrara who along with Mr. Koselny attempted to revive the child while medical assistance was enroute. SRO Ferrara used the schools AED (Automated External Defibrillator) administering one shock to the child who regained a pulse but was still in cardiac arrest. Paramedic Leuer then intubated the child at which time he noticed abnormal amounts of water and contacted Dr. Kathleen Lillis at Woman’s and Childrens Hospital for direction as he realized this was unlike a typical drowning and more likely the result of a cardiac condition. Dr. Lillis requested an emergency transport of the child to the hospital. During the transport the child became responsive and Mr. Leuer continued paramedic protocols until he turned the child over to hospital staff. At the hospital, the child was diagnosed with a rare heart condition that he had been living with since birth. After being stabilized he was transported to Strong Memorial Hospital where he underwent surgery to have a pacemaker implanted. Due to the professionalism, teamwork and training of our three award recipients a rare condition was diagnosed, treated and the young boy has recovered and leading an active life.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Paramedic Michael Leuer, School Resource Officer Joseph Ferrara and Middle School Phys. Ed. Teacher Christopher Koselny for their heroic actions of November 10, 2010.
New York State Police (SORT) Special Operations Response Team – West
Tactical Flight Officer Arthur D. Litzinger, Erie County Sheriff’s Office
On Monday, November 22, 2010 a call went out for a missing 18 year old hunter who was separated from his hunting party in close proximity to the Zoar Valley Gorge in the Town of Persia. Members of the Gowanda Fire Department and NYS Forest Rangers responded to the scene to coordinate a search. A cell phone ping was able to give an approximate location of the subject and the Erie County Sheriff’s Department helicopter was dispatched to the scene and eventually located the hunter at the bottom of the gorge in the waters of Cattaraugus Creek. The helicopter landed close enough to the victim to allow Tactical Flight Officer Arthur Litzinger to wade across the creek, carefully move him out of the water and assess the situation. Due to weather conditions, the quickly rising creek and swift currents, the Sheriff’s Department helicopter had to take off, leaving Deputy Litzinger to care for the victim. The deputy remained at the victim’s side under extremely dangerous conditions. A team of six rescuers descended into the gorge by foot, found the victim but also became stranded by the swiftly rising creek waters and the loss of daylight. Numerous agencies from Erie and Cattaraugus Counties responded to the scene and tried to reach the victim and rescuers but all attempts were unsuccessful due to the treacherous conditions.
A decision was made to call in the New York State Police (SORT) Special Operations Response Team led by Trooper Michael Wolniewicz who assembled a six member team consisting of Troopers Richard Kyser, Ross Riley, Brian Stone, Nathaniel Stobert, Brian Brass and Daniel Brown. Trooper Steven Doyon, also a SORT member, accompanied Technical Sergeant Mark Stryker in the State Police helicopter and critically relocated the victim and rescuers who were perched on a slate ledge a foot above the swift flowing water. GPS coordinates were obtained and relayed back to the command post identifying a position for the State Police SORT to launch its rescue mission. The SORT travelled a mile into the wooded gorge, took their positions and guided by the State Police Helicopters illumination of the rock face were able to perform a low angle rappel down a 500 foot slope. This set up what would be a high angle rappel over a cliff of more than 40 feet to reach the victim and stranded rescuers. Over the next five hours, two SORT team members operating in swiftly moving, knee deep water were able to stabilize the severely injured hunter and load him into a rescue basket. With the assistance of the “haul” team located above the gorge, he and the remaining six rescuers were safely extricated from the gorge. The high wind gusts, swiftly rising water, wooded and dangerous terrain navigated under cover of darkness truly made this a heroic rescue by all involved.
The victim was transported to the hospital where he was treated for multiple leg and arm fractures in addition head injuries he incurred in the fall. Two of the rescuers were also transported to the hospital and treated for hypothermia and exhaustion.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes the New York State Police Special Operations Response Team and Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy Arthur D. Litzinger for their heroic actions of November 22 and 23, 2010.