Hero Awards

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

2011 HEROES AWARDS RECIPIENTS


On June 22, 2011 Buffalo Fire Department Ladder 6 responded to a house fire at 144 Northland Avenue, where neighbors reported there was someone trapped in a second-floor room. Firefighter Gino Gatti entered the building through a second-floor window and, without protection of a hand line and under heavy smoke and fire conditions, Gatti performed a primary search.

He discovered an unconscious man. With assistance from his lieutenant, they moved the man to an interior stairway, where he was taken to safety with the help of additional crews.

Buffalo Firefighter Gatti is being recognized by The 100 Club for his quick and effective search and rescue in extreme fire conditions.


Last January, Buffalo Police Department B District Officer Paul Sobkowiak answered a stabbing call at 478 Normal Avenue. When he arrived, he found a woman slashed and badly bleeding in the arms of a neighbor. Calling for backup, Sobkowiak asked the woman the location of her assailant, but before she could answer she expired.

At that moment, screams were heard coming from the upstairs. Without hesitation and fully knowing the assailant may be on the second floor, Sobkowiak raced up the stairs to find another victim. He found a 15-year-girl with multiple stab wounds who told him the suspect was hiding in the attic. With gun drawn, Sobkowiak advanced through the house alone, until he was directed outside, where the suspect had fled. Meanwhile, Officer Issac Johnson with gun drawn had confronted the suspect outside the house. The man was covered with blood and brandishing a Samurai sword. Both officers ordered him to drop the sword. He refused, and instead pulled out a knife, stabbed himself and charged at the officers with the sword and knife.

Unable to retreat safely, Sobkowiak fired once and killed the suspect.

Buffalo Police Officer Sobkowiak is being recognized for his extreme bravery and diligence to duty in searching three floors of the house -- not knowing the location of the suspect -- and after witnessing the death of one victim and discovering her seriously injured teenage daughter.


On the morning of Thursday October 10, 2011, Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Weiss responded to a roll-over accident involving two vehicles at the intersection of Eastwood and Bullis roads in the Town of Alden. Upon arrival, Weiss approached the overturned SUV, which had struck a house and was resting on its passenger side. The driver, a 19-year-old Marilla woman, was trapped inside the vehicle and yelling for help.

Weiss, with the help of a nearby resident, began to pull the woman through the driver window, when the vehicle caught fire and began to fall on the rescuers. This forced Weiss and the resident to physically support the burning SUV while they pulled the woman to safety. Weiss, using a fire extinguisher, then controlled the flames until fire personnel arrived on the scene.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Erie County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Weiss for his heroic efforts -- disregarding his own safety -- in saving a woman's life and preventing extensive fire damage to an occupied structure.


In the early morning of July 18, 2011, Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy Allen Gerhardt was responding to a deputy's call for help in a foot chase in the Town of Porter when Gerhardt lost control of his vehicle and skidded sideways into a guardrail on Lake Road near Ransomville Road. The guardrail tore through the police vehicle and severed Gerhardt's legs at the knee.

At the same time Deputy Jonathan Andres, whose vehicle Gerhardt had been following, discovered Gerhardt had dropped from sight. Andres proceeded to the accident scene and found Gerhardt's badly damaged vehicle. With Gerhardt losing consciousness, bleeding profusely and in grave condition, Andres removed his own duty belt and used it as a tourniquet to stem the blood flow from Gerhardt's right leg.

Deputy Shawn Grapes, who had also arrived on the scene, helped Andres remove the critically injured deputy from his vehicle and applied another tourniquet to the second leg. As a result, Gerhardt regained consciousness and was transported by ambulance and Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Niagara County Sheriff's Deputies Jonathan Andres and Shawn Grapes for their quick and effective emergency response and intervention that saved the life of Deputy Allen Gerhardt.

Presenting the awards will be Deputy Gerhardt, a member of the Army National Guard who served as a Line Pilot in Iraq -- flying more than 500 hours during 2006 and 2007. Deputy Gerhardt received numerous medals and citations for his actions during the Iraqi war.


Dr. Darren Caparaso was driving to his Elma home on the afternoon of July 19, when he came upon an accident at the intersection of Leydecker Road and Southwestern Boulevard in West Seneca. One of the involved vehicles was driven by a 24-year-old mother, who was heading home with her 6-month-old daughter after a doctor’s visit. Their 1995 Buick sedan was struck by another vehicle and sent rolling into a ditch when Caparaso arrived at the scene. The virtually flattened Buick had landed on its roof. While the mother had managed to free herself from the car, the baby was still strapped in her car seat as the gas tank caught fire.

Four additional passersby were also on the scene. These included the owner and two employees of Luke’s (Collision) and an unidentified pickup truck driver. After several failed attempts to flip the car over and pull the back door open, the pick-up driver broke through one of the vehicle’s windows with a tire iron. With the help of Caparaso, the two men pulled the infant from the vehicle. As Caparaso cradled the baby in his arms and checked her for injuries, the pick-up driver doused the flames with a fire extinguisher before getting in his truck and driving away.

Police hailed the efforts of all civilians involved – especially the unidentified pick-up driver -- yet it was Caparaso who helped free the baby and then stayed with her until emergency personnel arrived at the scene.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Dr. Darren Caparaso, whose quick response and skilled intervention helped to save the life of a six-month old baby trapped in a burning vehicle.


On July 28, 2011, Officer James DeLacy of the NFTA Transit Police Department was on patrol on Main Street near the Allen Medical Light Rail Station, and observed a vehicle which had been reported stolen in the City of Buffalo. DeLacy began to follow the vehicle and attempted to pull it over.

The driver -- who later was determined to be a convicted felon recently released from prison -- refused to stop. A brief vehicle chase ensued which ended in a foot chase through several yards on Linwood Avenue. Prior to exiting the vehicle, the suspect stated to a passenger that he was not going back to prison, and fight between he and DeLacy ensued.

At some point during this fight, the suspect obtained control of DeLacy's Cap-Stun spray, and sprayed DeLacy in the face. The struggle continued with the 300-pound suspect now attempting to gain control of DeLacy’s duty weapon. DeLacy gained control of his gun and fired one shot into the buttocks of the suspect, who then attempted to flee. He was apprehended, arrested and charged.

The 100 Club of Buffalo presents its first annual Outstanding Service Award to Officer James DeLacy of Elma, N.Y., who despite physical injury -- pursued, fought and apprehended a dangerous and violent felon.