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Hero Awards

The 100 Club annually honors heroes throughout Western New York at an Awards Dinner. Hero Award recipients receive a cash stipend to offset expenses, a pin suitable to wear on their uniform or lapel and a memento from The 100 Club. Heroes names are engraved on our Hero Awards Board which is on display at Chef’s Restaurant throughout the year.

Past Hero Awards Winners

2022 Hero Awards

Lieutenant Aaron Salter, Jr. (Ret.)

Buffalo Police Department

Firefighter Rob Orlowski

North Tonawanda Fire Department

Citizen Reynaldo Beckford

Citizen Jay V. Withey

Officer Will Strehlow and Officer Matthew Leitzel

Lackawanna PD and West Seneca PD

Officer Jack Michienzi and Officer Hao Tran

Buffalo Police Department

Firefighter Brian Renowden

Buffalo Fire Department

Buffalo Police Department

Officer Anthony D’Agostino
Officer Christina Ihle
Officer Ann Devaney

Sheriff John C. Garcia

Erie County Sheriff

The Buffalo Bills Medical Team

Dr. Mark Kim
Kori Reblin
Dr. Tom White
Dr. Zachary Musial
Marissa Figueroa
Joe Micca
Kelsey Harkins
Nate Breske
Dr. Leslie Bisson
Dr. Marc Fineberg
Denny Kellington
Joe Collins
Dr. Desaree Festa
Tabani Richards
Mark Carrier
Christopher Clark
Paul Sortisio

2022 Special Honors

The 100 Club of Buffalo would like to acknowledge and honor
the victims and survivors of the Tops shooting on May 14, 2023

Lt. Aaron Salter, Jr.
Celestine Chaney
Roberta A. Drury
Andre Mackniel
Katherine Massey
Margus D. Morrison
Heyward Patterson
Geraldine Talley
Ruth Whitfield
Pearl Young
Zaire Goodman
Jennifer Warrington
Christopher Braden

2020-2021 Hero Awards

Detective Jacob Ruppert

Town of Cheektowaga PD

Trooper Joseph Butler

New York State Police

Lt. Patrick Herbert and Firefighter Justin Desilva

Buffalo Fire Department

Firefighter Johnathan Lengel

Buffalo Fire Department

Deputies Donald Hoelscher and Eric Szkatulski

Erie County Sheriff’s Office

Det. David LJILJANICH and Lt. Brian Scarpenna

City of Tonawanda PD

Buffalo Police Department

Lt. Bradford Pitts
Lt. Ibrahim Abdul-Wahed
Det. Alan Ortiz
Officer Jonathan Jackson
Officer Daniel Igielinski
Officer Joshua Slupinski
Officer Jonathan Negron

U.S. Coast Guard

Petty Officer 2nd Class Derrian Duryea
Aircraft Commander Lt. Christopher Monacelli
Co-Pilot Lt. Jacob Wawrzyniak
Petty Officer 2nd Class Jon Finnerty

2019 Hero Awards

Erie County Sheriffs Office

Lieutenant Joel Catuzza

New York State Police

Fire Fighter Anna Ventresca

Buffalo Fire Department

Lieutenant Vincent Judge and Officer Matthew Cross

Buffalo Police Department

Officer Denny Wright

Rochester Police Department

Major Clyde Doty

New York State Park Police

Dedicated Clinical Staff – Roger W. Seibel,
MD, Burn Treatment Center

Erie County Medical Center

2018 Hero Awards

Nancy Frederickson

Award Presented By Chief Samuel Palmiere

Nancy Frederickson has meant more to the 100 Club of Buffalo than anyone knows.  Nancy served as a director of the 100 Club and served on every committee including the Hero Awards Committee and the Scholarship Committee.  Nancy recorded the minutes during meetings, always pitched in wherever help was needed and did the jobs that no one wanted to do. Nancy did the work that was behind the scenes and thankless. If you needed something done she was there to help you – with no complaints – never seeking recognition.

When Nancy was asked to serve as the president of the 100 Club of Buffalo, she turned it down. She helped produce a video of the 100 Club and was the person you would ask if you wanted a copy of anything. Her husband has been a Volunteer Fireman with many years of service to his department. Nancy owns her own company, The Frederickson Group, which provides public relations service for clients including Mount Calvary Cemetery.

Margaret “Peggy” Cieri, RN

Award Presented By Dr. Joshua Lynch

Webster’s Dictionary defines a hero as someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or notable qualities.  Nurse Beth Moses exhibits all of these qualities. Beth has dedicated her life to the care of those in need of emergency care. As a nurse, she is a silent hero for the seriously injured, helping everywhere from the streets to the bedside.  Beth’s heroism is in her ongoing commitment to improve emergency care in the community.

As the EMS Chief for the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Company, Beth regularly spends her nights and evenings on scene for crashes, fires and medical emergencies helping to provide lifesaving care.  Beth is also actively involved in educating and training new and seasoned EMS personnel in her community and beyond. Her position with the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Company gives her an advantage of the on-scene perspective when teaching trauma care to emergency care providers at the hospital.

Beth is the Trauma Injury Prevention and Education Coordinator at ECMC and teaches EMS case review sessions that bring together pre-hospital and hospital trauma teams to review cases from the perspectives of on the street and inside the hospital.  These teams have been recognized by the Committee on Trauma Verification Review Committee as a strength of ECMC’s Level 1 Trauma Program.

Beth was responsible for bringing the STOP the Bleed campaign to Western New York. This national program encourages bystanders to become trained, equipped and ready to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives on the scene.  Over the past few years, she has trained hundreds of people lifesaving skills to stop life threatening bleedings at the scene of an accident

Lieutenant Peter Nigrelli, Buffalo Police Department

Award Presented By Dan Slawson

Last year, one hundred forty-four law enforcement officers were killed in the line of duty.  Thousands of public and police interactions happen each day and police officers put their lives on the line to keep our families and communities safe.   These brave men and women place themselves directly into situations most people avoid.

On July 20, 2018, at approximately 3pm, Lieutenant Peter Nigrelli of the Buffalo Police Department was on his way to work. Without any hesitation and before heading to his precinct, Lieutenant Nigrelli responded to a critical and dangerous situation. A 911 call went out to District A officers stating that a man was holding his mother hostage inside a home on McKinley Parkway and Como Avenue in South Buffalo  – the man was armed with a shotgun.

Shots had been fired inside the home after officers arrived on the scene – and as the situation unfolded, the man emerged from his home still armed with his 12-gauge shotgun in one arm and holding his mother hostage with the other arm.

Confronting the suspect, Lieutenant Nigrelli continuously shouted  “Drop the weapon Jeremy!” – he needed to be heard over the screams of the armed man’s frantic mother who was begging her son to stop.

The man did not heed Lieutenant Nigrelli’s orders and attempted to be get into a truck parked in the driveway of the home. Though off-duty, Lieutenant Nigrelli called upon the skill and training he acquired over 20-plus years as a police officer. Numerous times, the armed man pointed his shotgun at Nigrelli even after he was ordered to drop the weapon. Thinking of the safety of the civilians and fellow officers who were on scene, Nigrelli had no choice but to draw his weapon and fired.  Lieutenant Nigrelli’s shot disarmed the suspect and ended the dangerous situation without harm to anyone else.

Troy Bullard and Sean Mahony, New York State Police

Award Presented By Robert Zak

On September 13, 2018, Troopers Troy Bullard and Sean Mahony were the first responders to a report of an overturned boat in a privately owned pond located in the Town of Newstead.  Once on scene, they encountered several civilians performing CPR on an elderly victim and were told the victim’s fishing partner remained unaccounted for and was still in the water.  Bullard and Mahoney asked to be transported to the area where it was determined the individuals unintentionally entered the water. Without pause, the troopers removed their uniforms to their undergarments and entered the water to search for the missing victim.

With a water depth of 15 feet, Troopers Bullard and Mahony proceeded to conduct a grid search, working their way back and forth between the shoreline to where the overturned boat remained in the water.  After reoccurring dives, Trooper Bullard located the victim tangled in weeds in 8 feet of water. Trooper Bullard latched onto the individual’s belt and positioned him right below the surface where Trooper Mahony was able to assist and together they swam the victim to shore.  They immediately began CPR and transferred the victim via motorboat to the opposite shore where EMS personnel was waiting.

Despite Trooper Bullard and Mahony’s fast and heroic actions, neither victim could be revived by paramedics.

Troopers Mahony and Bullard had no safety equipment and were unfamiliar with their surroundings when they entered the water.  They risked their own lives diving into the pond to help another in need.

Firefighters Kevin Churley and Lieutenant Marty Barrett, Buffalo Fire Department

Award Presented By Mark Barberio

In the early morning hours of April 25, 2018, Rescue 1, 2nd platoon was dispatched to a structure fire at 2160 Seneca Street in Buffalo.  While en route it was confirmed that it was a working fire in a two story mixed occupancy building with confirmation of a victim trapped inside on the second floor.

Upon arrival, Rescue 1 was ordered to conduct a primary search of the second floor.  Three firefighters climbed the stairs and encountered a congested hallway and stairwell as other crews were struggling to move through heavy smoke and increasing heat.

Rescue 1 made the quick decision to conduct a primary search of the apartment adjoining the structure starting at the back of the apartment and working towards the front entrance.  Visibility was nonexistent and the thermal imaging cameras were rendered useless by the smoky conditions.

On the call, Firefighter Kevin Churley was driving so he and his partner Marty Barrett, were delayed in entering the apartment but quickly joined the Rescue Crew and began to search the front of the apartment.

Both Churley and Barrett relied on their training, discipline and instincts while searching for the victim.  While on his knees and using his pike pole, Churley found the male victim on the ground and immediately called for assistance. Through thick smoke, heat and zero visibility, Lieutenant Marty Barrett heard Churley’s call, located both men and assisted Churley.  The firefighters moved the victim through the congested hallway, down a long staircase and into the safety of an ambulance outside.

Patrick Casilio, Jr. and Jerry Roy, Clarence Center Fire Company and Harris Hill Fire Company

Award Presented By Arthur E. Duc Musarra

For many people in Clarence, October, 20, 1989 is a date they will never forget.  At about 2 pm there was information that a shooting had occurred on Karats Road. Two deputies were shot while trying to serve an arrest warrant on Rudy Manzella, who was wanted on narcotics charges in the City of Tonawanda.  Manzella was holed inside the home while deputies William Dillemuth and David Carlson lay bleeding outside. An eight-hour standoff with law enforcement would soon unfold.

Pat Casilio Jr., a volunteer firefighter with the Clarence Fire Company was at a Rotary Club meeting when he heard the emergency call.  A neighbor called in about the shooting and it came through as a man down – not a police emergency.

Jerry Roy from Harris Hill Fire Company and Casilio arrived on the scene at the same time and were in the front yard of the property where Manzella was shooting.

Roy observed Deputy Dave Carlson collapse onto the law. Casilio maneuvered his car to act as a shield for Carlson as Roy administered first aid to the wounded deputy.  Casilio assisted with first aid to Carlson. Dillemuth lay unattended until more vehicles arrived and could shield him and the others from Manzella’s shots.

Both deputies were taken to Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital in Amherst. Carlson survived but unfortunately, Dillemuth succumbed to his wounds.

The standoff with Manzella and more than 100 officers and SWAT team members from the Sheriff’s Office and Amherst Police Department ended around 10pm when Manzella was taken into custody. He is currently serving a 50 years-to-life sentence in prison.

Roy and Casilio have received awards for their quick response in the line of fire which they credited to sheer ignorance and not knowing severity of the situation. Thank you Pat and Jerry for being on scene to help the wounded deputies and thinking fast in an emergency situation.

Jack Harzynski, Civilian

Award Presented By David Hatcher

On December 11 County Sheriff, Gregory J. Rudolph was driving to work in an unmarked police car when another vehicle began to tailgating and flashing his headlights. Rudolph pulled to the side of the road to see if the driver needed assistance but he was blocked in after the vehicle pulled in front of his vehicle. The man quickly approached Rudolph at the driver’s side door and attacked him.

Jack Harzynski, with the USPS, was doing his daily routine with a coworker and out delivering papers that morning in Attica, NY.  Almost finished for the day, Harzynski noticed the unmarked police car stopped on the side of the road with flashing lights. Soon he saw Sheriff Rudolph and the man wrestling in the snowbanks by the side of the road.  Harzynski climbed from his car, heard Rudolph calling for assistance as the other man held a knife to Rudolph’s. The man attempted to grab Rudolph’s weapon while they were wrestling on the ground. Without thinking, Harzynski sprung into action – pulling the man off of Rudolph by grabbing his coat and hurling him into a nearby snowbank.  The man still had a knife in his hand when he got up from the snowbank but Rudolph was able to tackle the man to the ground and put him in handcuffs. Sheriff Rudolph recognized the man as someone that visited the sheriff’s office earlier that week to ask about pistol permit applications.

Sheriff Rudolph is forever grateful to Jack and his coworker for being at the right place at the right time and disregarding their own safety to help him and possibly saving his life.

2017 Hero Awards

Mr. Brendan Seney

Award Presented By Daniel Slawson

Ringing in the New Year proved to be more than Brendan Seney had bargained for while walking to his west side home with his fiancé and friends after watching the City of Buffalo ball drop on January 1, 2017. Brendan heard a loud crash and realized two cars had collided and four pedestrians had been struck. Upon witnessing the crash, Brendan immediately ran to assist the injured and provided first aid to one of the pedestrians, a 15 year old boy, who was bleeding profusely from his mangled lower left leg.

Brendan, a boy scout in his younger days, knew enough about first aid to recognize the severity of the boy’s injuries and need to stop the bleeding. He removed his belt and cinched it tight around the boys thigh to work as a tourniquet.

While this was taking place, Brendan’s fiancé, Julia Kestes, was tending to another victim when the driver of the vehicle attempted to leave the scene. Julia had the presence of mind take pictures of the vehicle for identification – fortunately others on the scene stopped the driver and removed him from the vehicle until Buffalo Police arrived. He was subsequently arrested for DWI.

Upon arrival of medical personnel, the 15 year old victim, a City Honors varsity basketball player was rushed by ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center where doctors were forced to amputate his left leg due to the extent of his injuries. Police and medical personnel stated that the outcome could have been much worse if not for the tourniquet being placed around his thigh by Brendan.

Margaret “Peggy” Cieri, RN

Award Presented By Dr. Joshua Lynch

If you ask any doctor who really holds the team together, who provides a shoulder to lean on, a hand to hold – we will tell you that person is almost always a nurse. This hero is no exception.

It is no surprise that this nurse had the chance to show her true colors back in the summer of 2017 when she was volunteering at a race. A particular runner was lucky that day when he collapsed not far from this nurse.

When she reached his side, she quickly realized he had no pulse and was not breathing. She instantly began performing CPR and assisted the paramedics to revive him. While leading the team effort to save his life, she coordinated with the paramedics to shock the patient twice and continued high quality CPR.

The patient fortunately regained a pulse and was breathing on his own before paramedics brought him to the hospital. He would certainly not be alive today if it was not for ECMC nurse Margaret Cieri. It is no surprise that with over 20 years of nursing experience, Peggy had no trouble leading the team to save this young man’s life!

Lieutenant Joseph Kalinowski, Buffalo Fire Department

Award Presented By Michael Colpoys

On February 9, 2017 at approximately 6:30am, Lt. Joseph Kalinowski of the Buffalo Fire Department was dispatched to a structure fire on Folger St in the city of Buffalo along with the rest of his company. Upon arrival they observed smoke showing from a two story frame structure and a woman visible in a second floor window. An extension ladder was raised and placed within reach of the victim while suppression of the heat and flames was carried out. Lt. Kalinowski, attempted to remove the woman from the burning structure and onto the ladder to no avail as she was scared and reluctant to climb out the window.

At this time, a window directly below the victim self-ventilated surrounding Lt. Kalinowski and the rest of the ladder crew with intense heat and flames. The intense conditions forced Lt. Kalinowski to back down the ladder stalling rescue efforts until the water could be directed at the flames allowing rescue efforts to continue. Once the flames had been sufficiently pushed back, Lt. Kalinowski continued his rescue efforts by convincing the woman to climb out the window where he assisted her onto the ladder and safely down to the ground.

First Assistant Chief Andrew Hallnan, Brighton Fire Department

Award Presented By William Fierle

On October 23, 2017 at approximately 4:51PM Brighton Fire District Assistant Chief Andrew Hallnan, without regard for his own and safety, entered a burning home in the Town of Tonawanda to save the lives of two elderly victims trapped inside.

Upon arrival at the scene ,Assistant Chief Hallnan observed smoke billowing from the rear of the structure and was advised that people were still inside the residence. He donned his SCBA gear and with the assistance of two Town of Tonawanda police officers forced the rear door of the burning building. Facing heavy smoke conditions and before fire apparatus arrived on scene he entered the dwelling, opened the front door and made his way upstairs to the second floor where he found a female victim in a rear bedroom. The victim was conscious and having difficulty breathing but was reluctant to leave as the conditions were deteriorating. Assistant Chief Hallnan determined that rescue through a window and down a ladder was not possible.He wrapped the victim in a blanket from her bed and removed her to the top of the stairs where he followed voice commands through the thick smoke toward the front door to waiting EMS personnel.

Assistant Chief Hallnan ascertained that there was a second victim “downstairs” within the residence but was unsure whether that meant the first floor or the basement. Assistant Chief Hallnan, with the assistance of Kenilworth Fire Company personnel reentered the residence with Kenilworth checking the basement and he the first floor where he had to use a hose line to knock down the flames to allow access to a rear bedroom where he found an elderly male who appeared to be lifeless. Assistant Chief Hallnan radioed for additional manpower and was assisted in removing the male victim from the bedroom by Captain Mommertz. Stumbling over fire debris, they were able to get the victim out the door to awaiting EMS personnel who administered oxygen and first aid and the victim began breathing again.

New York State Police Investigators, Operation Grant’s Tomb

Award Presented By Jane Kwiatkowski

Drug traffickers are a cagey bunch. They know how not to get caught, how to swap out phones, change phone numbers and switch locations. Above all, they know how to put massive amounts of heroin on our streets – while putting hundreds of thousands of dollars in their pockets.

Undercover narcotics investigators can be cagey, too. Three brave men played significant roles in taking down a drug ring that daily pumped thousands of bags of heroin onto our streets. Operation Grant’s Tomb began in early in July 2014 when two half-brothers from Puerto Rico with a violent past controlled the heroin business on the Buffalo’s lower West Side.

Enter, two investigators from the New York State Police Community Narcotics Enforcement Team (CNET) — who went undercover and bought heroin. They bought 70 bags from more than 20 sellers, investigators who worked 14 to 16 hours a day, seven days a week. One an undercover veteran; one a rookie.

The sellers moved throughout the City – on Hertel Avenue behind the movie theater in a parking lot. Another favored Tops on Niagara and Maryland streets. One seller set up shop under a bridge on Niagara Street.

A third NY State Police Investigator, on assignment with the Drug Enforcement Administration, had been tracking the same gang for more than a year and joined the fist two investigators in their work. Now using electronic surveillance, it was learned that one of the key drug dealers lived on Potomac Avenue. The other lived on the East Side, on Fillmore Avenue at Smith Street. And a house on Grant Street north of Forest Avenue was identified as the packaging plant where heroin was divided for sale.

Ultimately, fourteen (14) defendants were indicted through the investigation, and on August 9, 2017 DANIEL MOLINARIOS, the ring leader of this drug network, plead guilty and faced up to 40 years in prison and a fine of $5 million.

Last year, the opioid epidemic killed 230 people in Erie County. By breaking up this major heroin distribution ring, these three New York State Police Investigators saved hundreds of lives by putting ruthless drug dealers behind bars for a long time.

Lieutenant Shaun Dimino, Lancaster Police Department

Award Presented By Steven Nigrelli

In the evening hours of November 19, 2017, while off-duty and returning from a weekend visiting family and friends at a hunting camp in southern Chautauqua County, Lt. Shaun Dimino traveled home on Morris Road in Mayville, NY. As he crested a hill in the road, Lt. Dimino noticed a glow in the distance. He initially thought that it may be a bonfire. But as he got closer, he realized it was a house fire. The home had flames and thick smoke emanating from the roof and rear second floor area. Lt. Dimino pulled over and ran to the front door of the residence. He began to pound on the door while screaming to get the attention of whoever may have been inside the house.

Lt. Dimino realizing that the fire was out of control, called Chautauqua County Dispatch. He advised them that he was at a structure fire on Morris Road, but when the 911 Dispatcher requested that house number, he realized the number was not affixed to the residence. Lt. Dimino ran across the street to a neighboring home to ascertain the address and to also inquiry if anyone lived in the home on fire. The neighbor advised him that a disabled gentleman lived alone in that house.

Without hesitation, Lt Dimino gave the phone to the neighbor, so he could provide dispatcher with the necessary information while he sprinted back across the street to the house on fire. The flames now appeared to be engulfing the second floor of the residence and heavy smoke billowed from the roofline.

Lt. Dimino immediately kicked in the front door of the home and was greeted by thick black smoke. He was joined by the neighbor, who helped him search the house. The search was made extremely difficult due to limited visibility and intense heat. Lt. Dimino began to call out as they frantically searched. Lt. Dimino faintly heard the resident calling to them, and upon following the direction of his voice, they discovered him sitting at the table in the smoke filled kitchen.

Lt. Dimino realized the resident was not in his wheelchair and that it would be impossible for him to get out of the house on his own. As Lt. Dimino comforted Mr. Holcomb, the neighbor searched the house and found the wheel chair. The pair placed the resident in his wheel chair and carried him to safety.

The resident was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for smoke inhalation and later released.

It is obvious that without Lt. Dimino being in the right place at the right time, coupled with his keen observations, his brave and quick actions, and by putting his life on the line for a fellow person, this story would have probably had a tragic ending.

Mr. 100 Club Award

A special award came at the end of the presentations. In recognition of his six years serving as president of the 100 Club of Buffalo, Dan Penberthy was presented with the Mr. 100 Club Award.

As is tradition at the Hero Awards Dinner, the in-coming president of the 100 Club of Buffalo officially begins his term. New president, Peter Casilio, provided some comments to close-out the Hero Awards ceremony.

2016 Hero Awards

Robert Stauber – Civilian

When a firefighter in full turnout gear goes into a burning building and rescues someone he’s called a hero. What can you call a man who is not a firefighter who enters a burning structure FOUR times rescuing an entire family, including a one-month old infant? There may not be a word, but this man is Richard Stauber did so on the evening of February 26, 2016.

Mr. Stauber lived next door to a family in the Aurora Mobile Home Park. A 28-year-old mother of 3 drank a bottle of wine while cooking dinner for her young children, she passed out on a couch and the unattended food on the stove sparked a fire which spread through the structure.

Mr. Stauber had just arrived home from work at the right time and smelled something burning. He thought it might be his car but then saw smoke coming from an adjacent trailer. He was sure the family was home so he pounded on the door several times without a response when he noticed the door was already buckling from the heat of the fire. Mr. Stauber opened the door and thick black smoke bellowed out. He got on his hands and knees and began crawling inside. He was unable to see in the thick smoke but found the mother unconscious on the living room sofa. After dragging her outside, he went back in to find the four and five-year-old boys in their bedroom. He struggled to open their bedroom door as it was a sliding door without a handle so he pulled it from its frame. Stauber, who was briefly overcome by smoke, recovered and found two boys in the bedroom and removed them to safety.

He thought he was done but then remembered the woman had a newborn child. Mr. Stauber went back into the structure one last time and found the bassinet in the living room. He reached up and lifted the baby girl out and removed her from the trailer as well.

The children were evaluated at the scene and transported by ambulance to Mercy Hospital where they were treated for smoke inhalation and then released to other family members. The mother was admitted to ECMC and later charged by the East Aurora Police Department with child endangerment. Fire investigators said afterwards that another two minutes and this would have turned from a heroic act to a multiple person fatal fire.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Mr. Robert Stauber for his quick and decisive actions of February 26. 2016 while rescuing a mother and her three children without regard for the dangers and his own safety

Peter O’Brien – Civilian

Last summer saw violent attacks on police officers in several cities across the country. Last summer on the evening of August 24, 2016 one occurred in Western New York.

Grand Island’s Peter O’Brien came upon an Erie County Sheriffs police car across from River Oaks golf course, he realized that someone, possibly a law enforcement officer, was in a ditch and in some difficulty. Pulling over he saw a man choking a sheriff s deputy and a woman jumping on the deputy’s back. O’Brien rushed over and assisted the gasping Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy, Jason Clark. In the process O’Brien was nipped by the assailants’ pit bull. Clark was able to catch his breath and regain his composure as Deputy Sheriff Coiglio arrived to assist and subsequently arrest the man and woman who attacked Deputy Clark.

Mr. O’Brien, a 65 year old retired dock worker does not consider himself a hero, but he truly is, especially to Deputy Clark’s wife and two young children.

The 100 Club of Buffalo is fortunate to have citizens who support first responders in such an outstanding manner and would like to recognize Mr. O’Brien for his actions of the evening of August 24, 2016

Unfortunately Mr. O’Brien is spending the winter in Florida and is not able to join us tonight

Buffalo Firefighter Thomas O’Leary

On May 6, 2016 at approximately 5:45am , while most of us were safely tucked away in our beds, Buffalo Firefighter Thomas O’Leary and his company were dispatched to a house fire on Moselle Street on the cities east side.

Upon arrival companies found heavy smoke billowing from a two­ story wood-framed house. As crews were laying hose lines in preparation to enter the structure, a fleeing woman told Firefighter O’Leary that another woman was trapped on the second floor in a bedroom near the middle of the house. Realizing the dire situation and with no time to lose, Firefighter O’Leary entered the structure and rushed upstairs to search for the victim. Firefighter O’Leary was confronted by intense smoke and heat but managed to make it to the bedroom where he found the victim on the floor. Firefighter O’Leary was able to move the victim to the stairs where he was assisted by other Buffalo Firefighters in removing her from the burning structure where she was treated by emergency medical personnel who subsequently transported her to the Erie County Medical Center.

Tonight, the 100 Club of Buffalo would like to recognize Buffalo Firefighter Thomas O’Leary for his heroic actions of May 6, 2016 where he entered a burning structure without the aid of a charged line to save the life of a woman without regard for his own safety.

Buffalo Police Officers Mark Alberti, Raymond Harrington and Pascal Panero

On the evening of August 30, 2016 at approximately 5:34pm off duty Buffalo Police Officer Mark Alberti observed a vehicle enter a parking lot at a high rate of speed, observed the driver exit the vehicle and then retrieve a large caliber handgun from the trunk of his car and brandish it in the air. Realizing that the situation could escalate and knowing there is strength in numbers he called for backup and Police Officers Raymond Harrington and Pascal Panaro responded to the scene.

When they arrived the three officers were forced to deal with an officer’s worst nightmare, an unstable, irrational man armed with a handgun. The three officers knew they needed to act quickly before things escalated, especially as there were civilians in the area. Both Officers Harrington and Panaro began shouting commands to “drop the gun”. Ignoring the orders, the man waived the gun held in his right hand over his head with a blank look in his eyes. The officers were clear headed and persistent with their commands, without provoking the deranged man, who finally dropped the weapon and began to run preventing an outcome that would definitely not worked in his favor. He didn’t get more than a few steps before the officers took him to the ground and handcuffed him. It was at this point the officers discovered just how unbalanced this man was as he began speaking incoherently and said he had suicidal thoughts. After being secured and placed in their patrol car the suspect started banging his head on the rear window and partition within the vehicle. The compassionate officers realized and understood this man needed help and requested an ambulance respond to the scene to transport him to the Erie County Medical Center.

Officers Alberti, Harrington and Panaro demonstrated an overwhelming amount of restraint in a situation where deadly physical force would have been justified by displaying the humanity and compassion, that is a cornerstone of police work, by recognizing this person required immediate assistance from mental health professionals.

The 100 Club of Buffalo would like to recognize Buffalo Police Officers Mark Alberti, Raymond Harrington and Pascal Panaro for their overwhelming self-control and compassion by de-escalating an incident that could have proved fatal to the suspect or others in the area.

Buffalo Police Officers Nicholas Militello and Daniel Ahearn

On June 9, 2016, a pleasant afternoon last summer, Buffalo Police Officers Nicholas Militello and Daniel Ahearn the officers were dispatched to respond to a fire on Collaton St in the riverside area of the city. Upon arriving at the scene, neighbors advised the two officers that residents were still in the four apartment structure. Officers Militello and Ahearn knew they had to act and could not wait for the fire department to arrive. Without regard for their own safety, these two police officers entered the building and heard a woman yelling from an upper apartment. She was disoriented from the smoke and couldn’t find her way out.

Officers Militello and Ahearn raced upstairs where they had to kick in the entry door to gain access to the apartment and were met by a wall of thick, black smoke. They knew they had limited time to find the woman so they began crawling into the apartment, holding onto each other’s belts to keep from being separated. They called out for the woman who responded and was found holding tightly to her 18-month old baby, the woman was disoriented and confused so Officers led her and the baby out of the apartment by crawling backwards with them to the entry door and subsequently down the stairs to safety.

Officers Militello and Ahearn were not finished as they alerted there were more residents still inside. As other officers arrived they continued to alert and evacuate the residents and their pets from the burning structure.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Buffalo Police Officers Nicholas Militello and Daniel Ahearn for their heroic actions of June 9, 2016 for disregarding their own safety by entering a burning structure and rescuing a young woman and her infant child.

2014 Hero Awards

The 2014 One Hundred Club of Buffalo


2014 Hero Awards

Ms. Jennifer Dunn – Civilian Honoree

On June 14, 2014 a drive to a stress relieving morning run turned into anything but that for Jennifer Dunn as she was driving down Delaware Avenue at approximately 9:00AM.

As she crossed under the Scajaquada Expressway a “rooster tail” of dirt and debris caught her eye. Jennifer was driving south when she witnessed a vehicle traveling north jump the curb striking the bridge abutment, it bounced off and the engine compartment burst into flames. At this time Ms. Dunn slammed on her brakes, pulled over, jumped from her own vehicle and dialed 911 as she ran toward the wreckage.

When she arrived at the vehicle she saw how bad it was damaged and was afraid of what she would find when she opened the driver’s side door. When she did pry it open she saw that the operator was unconscious and his entire lower body had been jammed into the lower portion of the vehicle with the steering wheel pushed into his face giving her a feeling of helplessness as to how she would get this man out of the car. Shortly thereafter, help arrived and another good samaritan was able to obtain a fire extinguisher from a stopped bus to attempt to subdue the flames, this was not working and others started to pour water from bottles onto the flames as the driver began to regain consciousness. Jennifer tried to calm him by placing her hand on his shoulder and assuring him help was on the way. When the flames got to the point that Ms. Dunn thought she would have to retreat from the vehicle the fire department arrived, put out the flames and extricated the operator for transport to the Erie County Medical Center.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Ms. Jennifer Dunn whose quick response and intervention helped to calm a crash victim and assist in saving his life on June 14, 2014

Police Officer Robert LaRusch – Buffalo Police Department

On March 6, 2014 while detailed to assist in another district Buffalo Police Officer Robert F. LaRusch was dispatched to a call at the abandoned grain elevators in the City of Buffalo. Upon arrival Officer LaRusch learned that two young girls had entered the grain elevators at approximately 4:00PM and over a period of time had climbed their way up to the 6th floor to take pictures of the city and the waterfront. Unfortunately for them, when the sun went down, they were trapped up there in the dark with no way out. As police and fire personnel were planning a way to attempt to rescue these two girls, Officer LaRusch, who had a familiarity with the grain elevators, removed his gun belt and protective vest and without regard for his own safety scaled the elevator shaft to the 6th floor in the dark. He eventually found the girls and from their perch on the 6th floor was able to coordinate their removal and rescue with the assistance of Buffalo Fire personnel at the scene

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Buffalo Police Officer Robert F LaRusch for his selfless actions without regard to his own safety of March 6, 2014.

Firefighter Edmund Courtney – Buffalo Fire Department

During the early morning hours of June 27, 2014, at approximately 3:07AM Buffalo Firefighter Edmund Courtney along with other responding City of Buffalo Fire Department crews were met with heavy flames rolling from the second story and rising to the third of a residence at 108 Oxford Avenue in the City of Buffalo. Buffalo Fire dispatch had already received numerous calls of the fire and relayed to arriving crews that a victim was trapped inside. Without a hose line yet in place Buffalo fire crews immediately forced entry through a back door and ascended to the third floor apartment within the structure to search for the trapped victim. Deep into the apartment and well away from the staircase Firefighter Courtney located the male victim and began to remove him from the rapidly deteriorating conditions within the apartment. As he reached the staircase Firefighter Courtney was then assisted by other fire personnel at the scene, including Firefighter Michael Dougherty, who eventually carried the victim down the three flights of stairs to safety.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes City of Buffalo Firefighter Edmund Courtney for his heroic actions of June 27, 2014 for disregarding his own safety by entering a burning structure and saving the life of a trapped male victim.

Firefighter Michael Dougherty – Buffalo Fire Department

In the early evening of June 26, 2014 at approximately 5:54PM, Firefighter Michael Dougherty and crews from the Buffalo Fire Department were dispatched to a fire at 18 Regina Place in the City of Buffalo. Upon arrival the firefighters were met with heavy fire conditions on the second floor of a large 2 ½ story wood frame multiple dwelling where it was reported a victim was trapped inside. Crews immediately began a search of the second floor of the structure as hose lines were being stretched. Firefighter Dougherty, while searching the rear of the apartment found a male victim lying on the bathroom floor. With the assistance of Firefighter Edmund Courtney, the two firefighters removed the victim from the dwelling and performed CPR until being handed over to Rural Metro ambulance crews for transport.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Buffalo Firefighter Michael Dougherty for his quick and decisive actions of June 26, 2014 while searching for a victim in deteriorating fire conditions and removing him to safety without regard for his own welfare.

Deputies Bradley Girdler and Brandon Stott – Erie County Sheriff’s Office

Shortly after midnight on September 22, 2014 Erie County Sheriff’s Deputies Bradley Girdler and Brandon Stott responded to a two car motor vehicle accident on Whitehaven Rd on Grand Island. Upon arrival at the scene they observed that one of the vehicles was on fire with driver trapped inside. Deputy Stott attempted to suppress the fire with the fire extinguisher from his vehicle as Deputy Girdler engaged the occupant in an attempt to remove him from the heavily damaged and burning vehicle. After Deputy Stott emptied his fire extinguisher he retrieved the one from Deputy Girdlers patrol vehicle to try to further suppress the intensifying flames as Deputy Girdler tried to pry the doors of the burning vehicle open to extract the victim. As the flames grew in size and intensity and without regard for their own safety the Deputies came to the conclusion that they would have to break window glass to remove the victim through one of the cars windows. As they were doing this a citizen came forward with another fire extinguisher from a nearby hotel to assist in suppressing the flames as the Deputies removed the victim from the vehicle or he would have surely suffered serious injury or possible death if not removed before fire personnel could arrive on scene.

The 100 Club of Buffalo would like to recognize Deputy Bradley Girdler and Brandon Stott for their quick and decisive actions and the disregard for their own personal safety for saving the life of a crash victim who was trapped in a burning vehicle on September 22, 2014.

Trooper Paul Salzler – New York State Police

On June 29, 2014 at approximately 6:30PM, Tpr. Paul Salzler, working out of the SP Holland satellite office was dispatched to assist with a distraught and suicidal male subject in the Town of Colden. Upon arrival at the scene he was met by Deputy Dan Walczak from the Erie County Sheriff’s Department. Together the two walked to the back of the property where they observed a 42 year old male standing at the edge of a ravine that had a 300 foot vertical drop to a shallow creek below. When the highly intoxicated and distraught man saw the two police officers he immediately leapt from the ledge coming to rest face down in the creek below.

Without regard for his own safety and without the aid of a harness Tpr. Salzler immediately descended the steep ravine as quickly as possible to reach the motionless subject. After dangerously climbing down the steep embankment Tpr. Salzler reached the critically injured and unresponsive man who was not only severely injured but in danger of drowning. Taking great care to immobilize the victims head and neck, Tpr. Salzler positioned himself in the creek allowing himself to lift the victims head out of the water enough to allow him to breathe whereupon the victim returned to a semiconscious state. Tpr Salzler remained in the creek assisting the victim and only transitioned care once other responding emergency personnel arrived from a safer alternative route. The victim was eventually secured into a rescue basket and was carried to a waiting ambulance by Tpr. Salzler and other responding personnel for transport to the Erie County Medical Center.

The victim suffered a traumatic brain injury, two broken hips and multiple broken ribs along with numerous lacerations and contusions. It is too early to tell if the victim will make a full recovery but without the swift and heroic actions of Tpr. Salzler this troubled man would not have survived that day.

Tonight the 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Trooper Paul Salzler for his quick and decisive actions without regard to his own personal safety for saving the life of a disturbed man on June 29, 2014

2014 Outstanding Service Award

Erie County Office of Emergency Services

Beginning Monday, November 17, 2014 the Buffalo area was impacted by one of the most ferocious snow storms to ever envelope WNY. The lake effect snow bands started dumping snow over the majority of the southern two thirds of Erie County reaching rates of 4-6 inches per hour at the heaviest times. This is Buffalo and that doesn’t seem like a big deal but these lake effect snows continued for 2 straight days, letting up for a short period of time for the responders to catch their breath and started all over again pummeling the same towns and areas for two more days. When it was all said and done the heaviest hit areas in Erie County measured what amounted to be just under the average snowfall for an entire winter with measured accumulations of an incredible 7 feet of snow in the hardest hit areas. The Erie County Office of Emergency Services was prepared to do battle with this epic storm from the moment the first warnings were issued and continued with clean up and funding well after it blew out of here. They implemented their emergency action plan, bringing the heads of Erie County and New York State agencies together and declared states of emergency and road closures throughout most of the County protecting all of us as best they could in the process. This response by the Erie County Office of Emergency Services to one of the largest natural disasters to strike this area since the infamous “Blizzard of ‘77” demonstrates how planning, training, implementing, responding and recovery benefits all of the citizens of Western New York

The 100 Club of Buffalo presents its Outstanding Service Award to Erie County Commissioner of Emergency Services, Dan Neaverth, for leading the charge and coordinating the massive response to the November 2014 snowstorm that impacted most of Erie County

2013 Hero Awards

The 2013 One Hundred Club of Buffalo


2013 Outstanding Service Award

Sergeant Gary May – Niagara County Sheriff’s Office

Police officers are often recognized for their efforts in violent situations. Sergeant Gary May is being honored for going above the beyond the call of duty for his first aid prowess.

Sergeant May responded to a serious injury accident involving a motorcyclist and another vehicle on October 2, 2013 on Old Shawnee Road in the Town of Cambria. Arriving at the scene he saw that the motorcyclist’s leg was nearly severed. Sgt. May quickly retrieved a tourniquet from his patrol unit. With assistance of fire personnel on the scene, he applied the tourniquet to the victim’s leg.

The victim was quickly transported to the Erie County Medical Center where unfortunately, the medical team was unable to save his leg. However, due to Sgt. May’s quick action, the victim’s life was saved.

The 100 Club of Buffalo presents its Outstanding Service Award to Sergeant Gary May for his life saving efforts on October 2, 2013

2013 Hero Awards

Mr. Leonard Stevens – Civilian Honoree

On June 4, 2013 an afternoon of peaceful fishing on Squaw Island in Buffalo was anything but peaceful for Mr. Leonard Stevens.

He watched as youngsters were playing too close to the water when a 7-year-old girl slipped and fell into into the cold swift-moving river. Her brother, 17, jumped in to save her. He quickly reached her and passed her to their sister, age 13, on shore. The currents then pulled at the 17-year-old and the 13-year-old sister jumped into the river to help her brother.

Stevens could see that both siblings were in distress so he then jumped in to help them. He was able to get the now unconscious 13-year-old to shore but her older brother had disappeared into the murky waters. Stevens could not find the 17-year-old and swam back to shore, turning his attention to the unresponsive girl. He turned her on her side and slapped her back several times and she began to cough up water and begin breathing.

Nearby, a fisherman called 911 and the frantic search for the missing 17-year-old continued with responding police divers. Sadly, after 45 minutes the boy was found unresponsive trapped in riverbed debris under about 8 feet of water. Attempts to revive him were unsuccessful.

While we share in the sorrow of the young man lost in trying to save his sister, Steven’s bravery in saving a young girl’s life is truly heroic.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Mr. Leonard Stevens whose quick response and intervention helped to save a 13 year old girls life on June 4, 2013

Detective Keith Kerl and Officer Robert Cornell – Lancaster Police Department

Many people probably remember the shocking incident at Lancaster High School on July 1, 2013 when four young men were moving a metal football goal post at Lancaster High School when it came into contact with overhead high voltage wires. The four young men were electrocuted and seriously injured.

Lancaster Police Detective Keith Kerl and Officer Robert Cornell responded to the 911 call. Despite the fact that the goal post was still in contact with the electric wires and the surrounding ground was singed and charred from brief flare ups, they provided immediate care without considering the risk to their own lives. They performed first aid including reviving one victim using CPR and a defibrillator to revive him before EMT’s arrived and intubated him to clear his airway before eventually transporting him to Womens and Childrens Hospital.

Although the young men were seriously injured, one critically, each were transported to area hospitals and all survived this tragic event.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Lancaster Police Officers Keith Kerl and Robert Cornell for their selfless actions without regard to their own safety of July 1, 2013

Firefighters David Smith and Kevin Scott – Buffalo Fire Department

In the early morning hours of February 22, 2013, flames were rolling out of the first floor on both sides of a structure at 174 Timon St. in the City of Buffalo. Firefighters David Smith and Kevin Scott were advised by a resident that a woman and her child were still inside.

With a line in place from Engine 21, crews of Ladder 6 and Rescue 1 began an intense search for the two victims. Entering the burning building, Firefighter Scott quickly found the woman in the rear of the structure and with assistance from Firefighter Smith, carried the victim from the structure where medical assistance was administered.

As conditions rapidly deteriorated, Firefighter Smith reentered the structure and resumed searching for the young male child. He was able to find this second victim and removed him from the burning home where fire crews and Rural Metro Ambulance provided first aid.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes City of Buffalo Firefighters David Smith and Kevin Scott for their heroic actions of February 22, 2013 for disregarding their own safety by entering a burning structure and saving the lives of a mother and son.

Police Officer Michael Norwood – Buffalo Police Department

In the early evening of October 20, 2013 at approximately 7:54PM, Probationary, at the time, Buffalo Police Officer Michael Norwood was at the right place at the right time as far as Bonnie Werdein was concerned.

Ms. Werdein was driving on Main Street in the City of Buffalo, turning onto Florence Aveneue when a vehicle traveling on Main Street in the opposite direction struck Ms. Werdein’s vehicle so hard that both vehicles came to a stop against the curbs on opposite sides of the street.

The engine compartment of Ms. Werdeins vehicle then burst into flames and she was trapped inside. Officer Norwood who was off duty at the time rushed to the vehicle, gained entry and lifted her out of her seat with some assistance from another passerby.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Buffalo Police Officer Michael Norwood for his quick, decisive and effective actions on October 20, 2013.

Lieutenant Todd Chenez and Officer Michael Stover – Lockport Police Department

Fortunately for Harold Storms, Lockport Police Officers Todd Chenez and Michael Stover are half-marathon runners. Their desire for fitness combined with their training route saved Storms’ life on March 18, 2013

The two officers were completing a training run when they saw smoke coming from a home at 409 Hawley Street in Lockport. Rushing to the rear of the house they found thick acrid smoke billowing from the rear entrance door.

They were met by homeowner Roselyn Storms who advised them that that her husband was still inside. The officers immediately ran into the home to search for him. As they were only wearing their running gear for protection the search was difficult and they were quickly forced to retreat. Mrs. Storms said that her husband was probably in his basement work shop. Both officers again entered the home and were able to spot Mr. Storms lying at the foot of the basement stairs. He was unconscious and not breathing. They made several attempts to lift the victim but due to his physical size of nearly 300 pounds, combined the lack of breathable air, the officers were again forced to exit the home.

Lockport Police Officers Anthony Pittman and Heather Glenn then arrived on the scene and the officers ran into the smoke-filled house once again. The four were able to lift Mr. Storms and carry him outside to safety. Arriving paramedics quickly transported him to the hospital where he was listed in critical condition. Emergency Room physicians advised that Mr. Storms was only able to survive because of the quick actions of the police officers.

The story doesn’t end here. All four officers had to be treated for smoke inhalation. Three were treated and released. However, Officer Stover’s breathing was so compromised that he was given oxygen and rushed to the hospital. He was admitted to Intensive Care for treatment of a critical level of smoke inhalation. We are fortunate that he has since recovered and is with us here today.

Tonight the 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Lt. Todd Chenez and Officer Michael Stover for their quick and decisive actions without regard to their own personal safety for saving the life of on Harold Storms on March 18, 2013.

2012 Hero Awards

2012 Outstanding Service Award

New York State Trooper Christopher B. Sullivan

On May 22, 2012 a family realized its worst nightmare when they found their 23 month old daughter face down, unresponsive and not breathing in an in ground swimming pool on Omphalius Road in the Town of Boston just a week before Memorial Day.

New York State Trooper Christopher B. Sullivan patrolling out of the Boston barracks responded to the 911 call and after assessing the situation he immediately started performing life-saving CPR on the toddler. After Sullivan completed one cycle of chest compressions the small child began gurgle and then she began to breathe. Sullivan then rolled the child on her side to expel additional fluids from her body. At that time members of the Boston Emergency Medical Squad arrived on the scene and transported the child to Women and Children’s Hospital where she was iInitially listed in critical condition, she was subsequently treated and released and is expected to make a full recovery

Trooper Sullivan’s exemplary actions, his prompt response and his decisive medical care helped to save the life of this young drowning victim.

The 100 Club of Buffalo presents its Outstanding Service Award to Trooper Christopher B. Sullivan for his life saving efforts on May 22, 2012

2012 Hero Awards

Bergholz Volunteer Firefighter Mark R Stevens, Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Denise M. Piechowski and US Mail Carrier Barry W. Eleey – Civilian Honorees

On Tuesday, June 5, 2012 the lives of a bicycle rider, a nurse practitioner, a volunteer firefighter and a mail carrier all came together during busy rush hour traffic on Niagara Falls Boulevard in the Town of Wheatfield. The bike rider Curtis Senf was struck by a minivan whose driver was turning into a park lot and didn’t see the cyclist coming up behind him. Fortunately for the cyclist, three people saw what happened. Pediatric Nurse practitioner Denise M. Piechowski, US Mail Carrier Barry W. Eleey and Bergholz Volunteer Assistant Fire Chief Mark R. Stevens were all individually on their way to work at various locations but each pulled their cars over and rushed to Senf’s aid providing immediate and life-saving assistance to the unconscious cyclist. They quickly formed a cohesive team. Firefighter Stevens happens to keep a fully stocked medical bag in his car as well as emergency oxygen. The team nearly lost Senf when the cyclist stopped breathing but, working together, the good Samaritans performed CPR and provided oxygen until Mercy Flight arrived. Senf was flown to the Erie County Medical Center where he was in guarded condition in intensive care trauma unit. At this time Mr. Senf is still convalescing from his injuries and with therapeutic treatments is expected to make a full recovery The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Denise Piechowski, Barry Eleey and Mark Stevens, whose quick response and skilled intervention helped to save Curtis Senf’s life on June 5, 2012

North Tonawanda Police Officer Daryl Truty

On July 23, 2012, North Tonawada Police Officer Daryl Truty, was in the right place at the right time shortly before 3 p.m. The off-duty officer was working on his personal boat at Smith Boy’s Marina on Tonawanda Island when he heard cries for help and that someone was drowning. A young man who was swimming with friends jumped into the treacherous waters from a nearby bridge on the eastern side of Tonawanda Island into what is known as Little River which heads north toward Niagara Falls. The flailing swimmer had gone under water several times and was clearly in need of help. He was being propelled away from the shore and downstream when Truty alerted the North Tonawanda Police before grabbing his lifejacket and running north to get well ahead of the distressed swimmer. Officer Truty then jumped into the Little River with currents in excess of 9 MPH to try to reach the swimmer who was clearly in distress and going under water for up to 30 seconds at a time. At this point boaters who also were dockside joined in the rescue by taking their craft out toward the distressed young man. It was Truty who was able to reach him, and with the aid of the boaters, hoisted the unconscious swimmer safely out of the water. The swimmer who was unconscious at the time, became mildly responsive and was then transported to DeGraff Memorial Hospital for treatment.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes North Tonawanda Police Officer Daryl Truty for his extreme bravery and diligence to duty, even in an off duty capacity, for his actions of July 23, 2012

Firefighter Jeffrey Kane – Buffalo Fire Department
Firefighter Robert Carnevale – Buffalo Fire Department 
Special Agent Joseph Bongiovanni – US Drug Enforcement Administration

On the morning of November 16, 2012, two off duty City of Buffalo Firefighters, Jeffrey Kane and Robert Carnevale and DEA Special Agent Joseph Bongiovanni were driving separately on Amherst Street in the City of Buffalo when they all happened upon a structure fire at a three story apartment building. Smoke was billowing out of the structure and most of the 50 residents, some still in pajamas, were fleeing from the building, including a woman who jumped from a second story window as flames encroached. Unbeknownst to each other, they all decided to stop and enter the burning building to assist residents. Firefighter Kane who asked his wife to pull their car over instinctively entered the burning structure, without the protection of any equipment, to attempt to remove the remaining residents. He realized the heavy smoke allowed for a small window of air about 6 inches from the floor so he stayed low and banged on the floor calling out to people to get out of the structure. At this point he saw a pair of feet moving away from him so he drew a deep breath, stood up and ran through the thick smoke to grab a woman who he safely removed from the building. Upon reentering the building, he heard a familiar voice, that of fellow Firefighter Robert Carnevale and another man, Special Agent Joseph Bongiovanni who were also in an off duty capacity and searching for people as well. Each relieved there were others assisting at the scene, they continued the search of the structure until the flames and smoke became so intense they had to exit the building leaving the remaining searches and firefighting to arriving Buffalo Fire Companies.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes City of Buffalo Firefighters Jeffrey Kane and Robert Carnevale and DEA Special Agent Joseph Bongiovanni for their heroic actions of November 16, 2012 for disregarding their own safety by entering a burning structure without the aid of protective equipment and saving the lives of numerous residents.

Police Officer Robert Yeates – Buffalo Police Department

The year 2012 was a busy one for Buffalo Police Officer Robert Yeates, who was honored by the Buffalo Police Benevolent Association for incidents throughout the year.

Tonight the 100 Club of Buffalo honors him for one particularly harrowing incident which occurred on August 1, 2012. Officer Yeates and Probationary Officer John Michael Mulderig were on patrol on Esser Street in the City of Buffalo when a screaming woman flagged them down stating that her four year son was injured and pointed to the porch of duplex at 193-195 Esser St, where a small boy was lying motionless and unresponsive. Officer Yeates immediately radioed dispatch for an ambulance and proceeded to the front porch of the residence where he determined that the 4 year old boy had been stabbed several times in the chest. The mother of the child and another woman informed the him the assailant was inside 195 Esser. Before Officer Yeates entered the residence to investigate, he urged the mother, who had already started CPR on her critically wounded child, to continue talking to her son “to keep him alive.” Officer Mulderig, a rookie 13 days out of the Police Academy and 18 minutes into his first shift on the road, was directed by Yeates to stay on the porch with the victim and those tending to him until the ambulance arrived. At this point, a man attempted to exit the door at 193 Esser, but Yeates pushed the door closed and ordered the man to stay inside. Officer Yeates then entered 195 Esser, where he observed a bloodied woman standing 12 to15 feet away brandishing two large butcher knives. Officer Yeates drew his gun, pointed it at her and ordered the woman to drop the knives. She screamed back that she would not prompting Yeates to repeat the order several times. Each was met with a verbal refusal from the woman, who was later identified as the boy’s grandmother. The woman then began to walk toward Yeates, telling him to shoot her, Officer Yeates slowly backed away continuing to order the woman to drop the knives. Holding the door open with one hand and his gun in the other, Yeates backed onto the porch and realized he could not let the suspect out the door. The woman had now closed the gap between herself and Officer Yeates to 4 to 5 feet at which time she raised both knives, Yeates fired twice and she fell to the floor mortally wounded

Meanwhile, Mulderig remained on the porch assisting mother and child, keeping neighbors from entering the crime scene and continually watched Yeates’ back. The child subsequently succumbed to his injuries.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Buffalo Police Officer Robert Yeates for his quick, decisive and effective actions on August 1, 2012.

2011 Hero Awards

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.

2010 Hero Awards

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.

2009 Hero Awards

New York State Trooper Matt D. Luft
On Wednesday, February 11, 2009 Tpr. Matt D. Luft monitored a radio transmission of an erratic driver on St. Rt. 104, T/ Murray who subsequently turned onto Groth Road and was involved in a rollover accident. Upon arrival at the scene, Tpr. Luft observed that the vehicle was upside down on its crushed roof in a swampy area off the roadway. As Tpr. Luft approached the vehicle he observed that the operator, still in his seat belt, was suspended upside down and in distress, having trouble speaking and breathing, due to his head being submerged under water. Tpr. Luft quickly crawled through a window into the vehicles passenger compartment, lifted the operators head out of the swiftly flowing water so he could breath, cut him free from his seat belt and guided him through the rear window of the vehicle where two volunteer firemen administered first aid.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Tpr. Matt D. Luft for his swift and heroic actions of February 11, 2009.
SUNY Police Officers Jonathan Fletcher and Sean Ford
On Thursday, May 21, 2009 Officers Jonathan Fletcher and Sean Ford responded to a call of a car in Lake LaSalle. Upon arrival at the scene they didn’t find a car but a man and his daughter floundering in the lake, unable to swim. The two had ventured into the water in order to save their struggling dog and in turn needed rescuing themselves. Both officers, without regard for their own safety, removed their gun belts and jumped into the lake to assist the victims. It was apparent that the man was having a difficult time in the water and was assisted to shore along with his daughter by Officer Ford while Officer Fletcher was able to retrieve the dog and remove it from the lake. Once safely on shore, another officer now on the scene, Lt. Urbanek, along with Officer Fletcher performed CPR on mans best friend without success but the man and his daughter survived this life threatening ordeal.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Officers Jonathan Fletcher and Sean Ford for their heroic actions of May 21, 2009
Niagara County Deputy Sheriff Roger C. Schreader II
On Saturday, August 29, 2009 Deputy Roger C. Schreader responded to a call of a motor vehicle accident on South Transit Road, T/ Lockport where his background as a volunteer firefighter with the Cambria VFD served him well. When Deputy Schreader arrived on scene he observed that one vehicle was on fire so he took the fire extinguisher from his patrol vehicle and while approaching the burning car was advised by a witness that there was a woman trapped inside. Finding the door locked Deputy Schreader used his flashlight to break the driver’s window, used his fire extinguisher in an attempt to knock the flames down enough to reach inside, unlock the door, cut the female victim from her seat belt and remove her to safety before the flames intensified once again. Witnesses at the scene assisted in moving the woman away from the vehicle and advised that the driver of the second vehicle was still in his car. The intensity of the fire was growing so Deputy Schreader, again with disregard for his own safety, along with a fellow Deputy who had now arrived on scene, assisted the driver from the second vehicle and away from danger. The South Lockport Fire Company responded to the scene, extinguished the car fire and rendered first aid to the victims. The woman sustained serious injuries as a result of this accident caused by the other driver who was intoxicated, however the outcome would have been much worse if not for the actions of Deputy Schreader.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Deputy Roger C. Schreader for his heroic actions of August 29, 2009
Village of Hamburg Police Officer Sean Gallagher
On Tuesday, November 3, 2009 Officer Sean Gallagher responded to a complaint of a man trapped under a commercial lawn mower in a creek behind a residence in the Village of Hamburg. Upon arriving at the scene, Officer Gallagher, along with Lt. Joseph Wittmeyer, was advised that the 2000 pound lawn mower was on top of the victim who could not be seen below the waters surface. Both officers and a coworker of the victim struggled to lift the lawn mower off of the victim. The situation looked hopeless but Officer Gallagher encouraged his fellow rescuers not to give up and that failure was not an option. The three were finally able to lift the lawn mower enough for Officer Gallagher to reach below it and pull the victim from the water. Once removed, the victim was blue in color and showed no signs of life. Officer Gallagher immediately began CPR and continued until the victim eventually sputtered out water and regained a pulse. The victim was transported by Erie County Sheriff’s helicopter to the Erie County Medical Center in critical condition where he remained for a week before making a complete recovery.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Officer Sean Gallagher for his heroic actions of November 3, 2009
Dr. Dietrich Jehle and Mr. Michael Byham 
On Sunday, February 10, 2008 during the third period of the Buffalo Sabres / Florida Panthers NHL hockey game Dr. Bisson, one of the Buffalo Sabres team physician responded to the ice after
On Friday, September 4, 2009 during a normal commute home from work both Dr. Dietrich Jehle and Mr. Michael Byham came upon an eight car accident on Interstate 190 in the City of Buffalo and instead of doing what most people driving past an accident scene would do, call for help, they jumped in to assist in any way they could. One of the vehicles had caught on fire and witnesses were saying that a boy was trapped inside. The boy’s grandfather, the driver, had been able to get out of the vehicle.
Dr. Jehle who is on the emergency room staff at the Erie County Medical Center, recognized the severity and immediacy of the situation and took action. Michael Byham joined in him in approaching the burning vehicle and worked feverishly to extricate 7 year old Asa Hill. Dr. Jehle overheard someone saying they would not be able to get Asa out of the vehicle but true to his nature, would not give up and with the assistance Michael Byham they were able to remove young Asa from vehicle and away from the flames.
The severely injured boy was transported to Women and Children’s Hospital, where he eventually succumbed to his injuries.
The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes and presents its Civilian Heroes Award to Dr. Dietrich Jehle and Mr. Michael Byham for their heroic actions of September 4, 2009
Buffalo Fire Department Lieutenant Charles “Chip” McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom
It is with great sadness that the 100 Club must present the following two awards as they go posthumously to the families of Buffalo Firefighters, Lt. Charles “Chip” McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom. All Emergency Responders are well aware of the dangers they face each and every time they respond to a call. For these two firefighters, the dangers resulted in them paying the ultimate sacrifice when they responded to a convenience store fire on Monday, August 24, 2009.
A 911 caller said that someone was banging on the wall of a delicatessen on Buffalo’s east side and calling for help inside the burning structure. Fearing someone was trapped inside responding firefighters intensified their search. Unfortunately a floor in the old two-story brick building collapsed with Lt. McCarthy falling through to the buildings basement. Firefighter Croom, without regard for his own safety, entered the structure in an attempt to rescue Lt. McCarthy who was signaling a “mayday, man down” situation. As he was searching, Firefighter Croom fell through the floor ending up in the basement as well. Despite many attempts to get to the fallen firefighters, crews were beaten back by flames and collapsing floors were unable to do so.
Lieutenant McCarthy was a 22-year veteran of the Buffalo Fire Department and is survived by his wife, three children and a grandchild.
Firefighter Croom of Ladder Company 7 was a 10 year veteran of the Buffalo Fire Department.
The 100 Club of Buffalo posthumously recognizes Lt. Charles “Chip” McCarthy and Firefighter Jonathan Croom for their heroic actions of September 24, 2009

2008 Hero Awards

Trooper Chad P. Barry – New York State Police
On Thursday, October 18, 2007 at 6:45AM , Trooper Chad P. Barry responded to the William Toth residence, 70 Meadowbrook Drive, Elma, NY for a report of a house fire where the residents were trapped inside. Upon arrival at the scene, Trooper Barry was met by Susan Toth who was outside the residence with her three children who advised Trooper Barry that her husband was still inside the residence attempting to find the source of the fire. Trooper Barry along with two Erie County Sheriffs deputies attempted to enter the front door of the residence and were met with heavy smoke forcing them to exit the house. As the deputies led Mrs. Toth and her children away from the house Trooper Barry ran to the rear of the residence where he located a sliding glass door, opened it, entered and called for Mr. Toth who was on the floor and observed Trooper Barry’s flashlight. Mr. Toth reached out and grabbed Trooper Barry’s arm enabling him to pull Mr. Toth from the residence to safety.
The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognizes Trooper Chad P. Barry for his act of heroism on October 18, 2008
Police Officers Ronald Clark and Efrain Colon – Buffalo Police Department
On Monday, May 14, 2007 at 7:49PM Officers Ronald Clark and Efrain Colon responded to a 911 call of shots fired from a gold Equinox at the corners of East Ferry and Cambridge Streets in the City of Buffalo. Officers Clark and Colon were the first on the scene and as they approached they observed a black male whose torso was outside the Equinox firing shots from a handgun north onto Cambridge St. Officer Clark attempted to position his patrol vehicle in front of the Equinox to pin it in but was rammed several times before it fled the scene. As Officers Clark and Colon pursued the suspect vehicle they were met with gunfire striking the drivers side of Officer Clarks patrol vehicle. After a pursuit through the east side the suspects abandoned their vehicle in downtown Buffalo and were eventually apprehended after a foot chase as all of the City of Buffalos available units were in position to intercept these fleeing felons.
Many officers took part in this chase and eventual apprehension but it was Police Officers Clark and Colon who maintained their positions in the pursuit of the Equinox while disregarding their personal safety to make the streets of Buffalo safer as they took direct fire from these fleeing suspects.
The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognize Police Officers Ronald Clark and Efrain Colon for their heroic actions of May 14, 2007.
Lieutenant Thomas Mascellino – Buffalo Fire Department
On Saturday, March 15, 2008 at 5:09AM Lieutenant Thomas Mascellino responded to a structure fire at 652 Humboldt Pkwy, Buffalo, NY. While advancing a hose line into the residence Lt. Mascellino performed a cursory search and located an unconscious male wedged between a bed and dresser in a bedroom off of the kitchen. Due to limited space within the room Lt. Mascellino was not able to free this person and after calling waiting for assistance removed his face piece in order to provide oxygen to the victim enabling him to breath clean air while trapped within the bedroom. With assistance, the victim was eventually removed from the structure and Lt. Mascellino completed the suppression of the fire.
The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognizes Lieutenant Thomas Mascellino for his heroic actions of March 15, 2008
Fire Fighter Robert Jackson – Buffalo Fire Department
On Thursday, April 3, 2008 at 11:07PM Firefighter Robert Jackson responded to a structure fire 389 Herman St, Buffalo, NY. While following a hand line to the second floor and searching for possible victims Firefighter Jackson located a male victim lying on the floor in a bedroom, off the kitchen, which was engulfed in flames. Firefighter Jackson with the assistance of another firefighter removed the victim from the residence to safety via a rear staircase adjacent to the bedroom.
The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognizes Firefighter Robert Jackson for his heroic actions of April 3, 2008
Doctor Leslie J. Bisson MD – Civilian Honoree
On Sunday, February 10, 2008 during the third period of the Buffalo Sabres / Florida Panthers NHL hockey game Dr. Bisson, one of the Buffalo Sabres team physician responded to the ice after
Florida Panther forward Richard Zednik was inadvertently cut on the throat by a teammates skate. As Zednik arrived at his teams bench he was greeted by Panther trainer David Zenobi who placed a towel on his throat and Dr. Bisson who was already in position in the tunnel leading to the dressing rooms where he quickly evaluated the injury which was a severed carotid artery and took immediate action. Dr. Bisson pinched off the artery in Zedniks throat stopping the profuse bleeding until they arrived at the hospital and the surgeons could take over and provide further medical attention.
The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognizes Doctor Leslie Bisson, MD for his heroic actions of February 10, 2008.

2007 Hero Awards

Officer Carl Andolina / Buffalo Police Department

Officer Patricia Parete / Buffalo Police Department

On Tuesday, December 5, 2006, Officers Carl Andolina and Patricia Parete assisted on a fight call at Valero Market located on South Elmwood at West Chippewa. Officer Parete Carl Andolinaspoke with a woman who said she had been threatened by a man walking from the parking lot of the store. The officers pursued him to Georgia at Whitney for questioning. Officer Parete exited the patrol car and told the suspect to take his hands out of his pockets. The suspect did not comply. Officer Andolina was searching the suspects left coat pocket and Officer Parete was still in front of the suspect. After repeatedly ignoring Officer Parete’s requests to remove his hand, the suspect took out a .38 revolver and pointed it at Officer Parete.  Reacting to the imminent threat Officer Parete grabbed the suspect’s right arm.  However, he shot at Parete striking her twice.  The first round hit her bullet proof vest, whereas the second shot struck Officer Parete causing her to collapse to the ground.

District Attorney Frank Clark and Officer AndolinaOfficer Andolina with disregard for his own personal safety instinctively acted to eliminate the threat.  He grabbed the suspect’s right arm which still held the loaded revolver, and while attempting to subdue the armed suspect, was immediately shot twice.  Severely injured and bleeding profusely, Officer Andolina was able to subdue the gunman underneath him.  When help arrived Officer Andolina radioed for help.

The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognize Officers Carl Andolina and Patricia Parete for their acts of heroism on December 5, 2006.

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Detective Sergeant Harvey Frankel / Buffalo Police Department
Kayla Frankel, his daughter

While playing outside in Buffalo on a Sunday afternoon, Kayla noticed something was not right so she went and told her dad thatDetective Sergeant Harvey Frankel & Kayla Frankel she saw smoke coming from the house next to her friend’s house. Kayla’s father is Buffalo Police Detective Sergeant Harvey Frankel. Their neighbor, 88 year old Florence Winarski was trapped inside her burning home. Sergeant Frankel didn’t think twice, he shouted but received no response. Sergeant Frankel then proceeded to open the door and was able to see a pair of feet when the smoke cleared a bit. He was then able to pull Ms. Winarski to safety. Unfortunately, despite Sgt. Frankel’s rescue, Mrs. Winarski later passed away from her injuries. The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognize Detective Sergeant Harvey Frankel and his daughter Kayla Frankel for their heroic actions of July 26, 2007.back to top

Firefighter Scott Jeziorski / Buffalo Fire Department

The 100 Club would like to honor Firefighter Scott Jeziorski of Ladder Co. 6 for his rescue of three people at two different fires over the past year.

The first incident occurred on August 11, 2006. When Scott Jeziorski arrived at Carl St. inFirefighter Scott Jeziorski Buffalo the fire had completely engulfed the front of the building, as he entered to conduct a search. Crawling through intense smoke and heat, Jeziorski made his way into the bedroom nearest to the seat of the fire. After venting the window in the bedroom, Jeziorski found the victim and quickly brought him out to safety. The 2 year old child later died from his burns at Children’s Hospital, this in spite of the tremendous efforts of Firefighter Jeziorski and all the firefighters who operated at the fire.

The second incident took place at 96 East Utica in Buffalo on February 13, 2007. Upon arrival Jeziorski discovered that children were in the bedrooms on the second floor. Firefighter Jeziorski made his way upstairs through heavy heat and smoke. Once on the Firefighter Scott Jeziorsksecond floor he found the two children on the bed and brought them to safety.

The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognize Firefighter Scott Jeziorski for his heroic actions of July 27, 2007.

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Deputy Thomas Meredith / Erie County Sheriff’s Department

On July 27, 2007, Deputy Meredith was patrolling the Town of Grand Island when he received a radio call of domestic trouble / attempted suicide. Deputy Meredith responded to the call and was directed to a house at 71 Crescent, where he was told a man wasDeputy Thomas Meredith hurting a woman. As he approached the house, he heard a gun shot and a female ran from the house, screaming for help. She was being chased by a male with a hand gun. Deputy Meredith yelled to the subject to drop the weapon, the subject pointed the gun in the direction of the deputy but Deputy Meredith could not fire his service weapon because the female victim was in his line of fire. The suspect turned his attention back to the female victim and fired shots at the victim as they ran. Deputy Meredith continued to chase the suspect firing his weapon when it was safe to do so. He saw the victim had been shot in the shoulder area. The suspect shot the victim again and then turned his attention at the officer. Deputy Meredith again facing an armed suspect pointing a weapon at him had a clear shot as the woman was able to enter the house. The Deputy fired and hit the suspect and the suspect went down.

Deputy Meredith then proceeded to start to treat the suspect by performing CPR on the man who had just shot the victim and pointed a gun at him. It was later discovered that the suspect had pipe bombs in the backpack he was wearing. Deputy Meredith’s actions, with no concern for his own safety, saved the life of the woman and may have saved the lives of several other individuals who lived in the suspect’s apartment building where they later found several bombs and bomb making materials.

The 100 Club of Buffalo and Western New York recognize Deputy Thomas Meredith for his heroic actions of July 27, 2007.


2006 Hero Awards

Kyle Schraufstetter/Amherst Police OfficerKyle Schraufstetter

The Amherst Police Department responds to several vehicle accidents every day. On March 18, 2006, Officer Kyle Schraufstetter responded to the report of a motor vehicle accident on South Ellicott Creek Road. He was the first to arrive at the scene and found a car had hit a tree, a pole and another car and was now flames. The driver had suffered a head injury in the crash was trapped inside the burning car.

Officer Schraufstetter grabbed a fire extinguisher and began to extinguish the fire in an attempt to rescue the trapped driver. The fire extinguisher quickly was used up but the fire roared on. He ran back to his car, grabbed another extinguisher and continued battling the flames. Despite the intense heat and potentially explosive situation he again approached the car with a third extinguisher.

Officer Schraufstetter’s attempts to save another person’s life at the risk of his own were courageous and selfless.

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Assistant Fire Chief Dan E. Marohn / Tonawanda Fire Department

Assistant Fire Chief Dan E. Marohn Children playing on ice can be a recipe for disaster. On March 5, 2006, the Tonawanda Fire Department received a call that two children were playing on the ice. Moments later this call was upgraded. The children had fallen through. Assistant Chief Daniel E. Marohn raced to the scene and was the first to arrive. Marohn knew he had to act quickly. He grabbed a tree branch and held it out to the children for them to grab on to. The branch soon broke. He knew the children couldn’t wait. Marohn was forced to crawl out onto the ice to reach them. He was able to reach one of the children by the pant leg but the ice fell beneath him and Marohn also fell into the icy water. Fortunately he was able to lift the two children onto a solid ice patch. The children were brought safely to shore by an assisting police officer and firefighters now on the scene.

As a result of the heroic efforts of Assistant Chief Daniel E. Marohn, two young lives were saved, and the children have learned a lesson they won’t soon forget.

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New York State Trooper Ronald V. Wolf
New York State Tropper Kevin J. Jordon

New York State Trooper Ronald V. WolfThe report came in as a man who accidentally discharged a firearm while cleaning it and wounded his leg. Troopers Ronald V. Wolf and Kevin J. Jordon were dispatched to the residence on August 1, 2005 and discovered that the situation was much more serious. The man was highly intoxicated man, who a bullet wound in his leg and was visibly suicidal, holding a revolver to his head.

Trooper Wolf engaged the man in a conversation and gained his trust by recalling an investigation that he had helped him with in the past. The troopers tried to persuade the man to give up his gun so that they could take care of his wounds. The man told the troopers if they walked over to him that they would not be harmed. Trooper Wolf explained to that man that he was not sure of his state of mind and could not take that chance. The troopers spoke with the man over the course of an hour, during which time he constantly pointed the gun under his chin and then to his chest. The man then took the gun away from his chest and grabbed it by barrel. Trooper Wolf courageously moved about 20 feet closer while Trooper Jordan and other deputies covered. Finally the man told Trooper Wolf he would hand over his gun. Trooper Wolf cautiously approached the man and took the weapon.

back to topCaptain Michael Tuberdyke
Firefighter Ronaldo Parker
Firefighter Sean Eagen

One of a firefighter’s worse nightmares is to arrive at a building fire and learn people are still inside.

On July 23, 2006 Captain Michael Tuberdyke, Firefighters Ronaldo Parker and Sean Eagen arrived at the scene of a house fire to and learned that there was someone inside. The house was fully involved but the officer and firefighters got right to work performing a search and rescue. Captain Tuberdyke reached the second story and found a women lying on the floor in one of the bedrooms. He immediately called for help and was joined by Firefighters Ronaldo and Eagen who carried the woman down the stairs and out of the home to safety. The women remains in the

hospital under serious condition.

As a result of their quick and decisive actions this woman was saved.

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Crossing Guard Kristen Masecchia

Kristen Masecchia proved that crossing guards truly guard our children. At the start of the 2005 school year crossing guard for St. Mark’s Elementary School in Buffalo used her body as a human shield to protect the lives of four young children.

Mrs. Masecchia was directing four little girls across the street when she saw a 2002 Oldsmobile go through a red light. She yelled at the girls to run but was forced to take personal action. She leaped towards the girls in an effort to protect them, pushing two them out of harms way. She was struck in the back by the car and airlifted onto the hood along with one of the children and fell onto the pavement.

The children and Mrs. Masecchia suffered injuries ranging from lower back pain to some bumps and bruises. Had it not been for the heroic action of Mrs. Masecchia these four children might have been more seriously injured.


2005 Hero Awards

Officer Corey Krug / Buffalo Police Department

Hon. Michael A. Battle / United States Attorney for the Western Dist. of NY

Firefighter John Relosky / Buffalo Fire Department Firefighter Tom Smolarek / Buffalo Fire Department

Firefighter Mark Mendola / Buffalo Fire Department

Charles Mathewson / Civilian

Lieutenant Keith Burke / Buffalo Fire Department

Officer Julio LeBron / Town of Tonawanda PoliceKaren Krytus, Rural / Metro Medical Services Paramedic
Dennis Wellspeak, Rural / Metro Medical Services
Paramedic Jason Van Dewater, Rural / Metro Medical Services Intermediate AEMT
Beth Moses / Hamburg Fire Department Paramedic

The baby wasn’t due until March and it was early December. An EMS team was responding to a woman who had miscarried at home. With extreme pain the woman had delivered a 14-week premature baby into the toilet and was bleeding excessively. All attention was focused on the woman who was traumatized and needed to get to the hospital. One of the first responders at the scene asked Jason Van Dewater to remove the baby’s body from the toilet so as not to further upset anyone at the scene. Van Dewater extracted the baby, but before he could place it in a bag he realized that the child was alive. The crews all went into action. Nothing on the ambulance would fit the premature infant, and they could not intubate because the laryngoscope blade was too large. The CVU bag didn’t fit the child either but paramedics were able to use their hands to make it work and also provide basic CPR.

The baby arrived at Buffalo Mercy Hospital alive and kicking and was later transported to Women’s and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. The child was very premature and the shock of the birth made for a very long recovery if the child was to make it at all. After several months in the ICU at WCHOB the child went home with Mom and Dad.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes First Responders Karyn Krytus, Dennis Wellspeak, Jason Van Dewater and Beth Moses for their heroic action.

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Officer Corey Krug / Buffalo Police Department

Rescuing someone from a burning vehicle is difficult enough, but when the person being rescued puts up a fight it becomes even more dangerous.

On April 2, 2005, Police Officer Corey Krug was dispatched to a car fire at 805 Elk Street.  He found a 1992 Buick with its engine on fire and a smoke-filled passenger compartment.  Krug quickly requested Buffalo Fire assistance.

Krug couldn’t tell if anyone was inside but the bartender at Mr. A’s next door thought someone was. With the heavy smoke Krug couldn’t wait for the fire company to arrive.  With disregard for his own safety he opened the passenger car door and found a person inside.  However, the occupant began to fight with the officer. Krug then went to the driver’s side and was able to remove the occupant.  All the while the fire was spreading.

By the time the officer removed 61-year-old occupant the vehicle was fully involved. Witnesses reported the vehicle exploded less than ten seconds after the man was pulled out.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Officer Corey Krug for his heroic action on April 2, 2005.

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Hon. Michael A. Battle / United States Attorney for the Western Dist. of NY

Michael A. Battle, United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, is being honored with The 100 Club of Buffalo Distinguished Service Award.  In addition to his achievements in the law enforcement and legal communities, he has been a longtime member and supporter of The 100 Club.  His personal involvement in Project Exile and Weed and Seed programs helped curb the violence in Buffalo making the streets safer both for the public and law enforcement personnel as well.

Battle graduated from Dewit Clinton High School in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ithaca College and earned his law degree from SUNY at Buffalo.  He began his legal career with the Legal Aid Society Civil Division.  From there he was recruited by US Attorney Salvatore R. Martoche to be an Assistant US Attorney in Buffalo, a position he held from 1985 through 1992.  He served in the General Criminal Division, the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force and the Civil Division.

In 1992, he helped establish the Federal Public Defenders Office in Rochester with a satellite office in Buffalo.  By 1995 he was appointed Assistant in Charge of the Buffalo office for New York State Attorney General Dennis Vacco.

He left the Attorney General’s Office in June 1996 accepting an appointment by Governor George E. Pataki to fill a vacancy on the Erie County Family Court Bench.  Later that year Battle won the Democratic and Republican primaries retaining the seat for 10 years.

In January 2004, Battle was appointed by Attorney General John Ashcroft to serve on the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee. The Committee advises the Attorney General on key public policy issues facing the Department of Justice.

Outside of the office, Battle has received several community awards, served on numerous boards and has been active in organizations from Leadership Buffalo to Kaleida Health to the Boy Scouts of America.

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Firefighter John Relosky / Buffalo Fire Department
Firefighter Tom Smolarek / Buffalo Fire Department


Fire claimed the life of a Buffalo woman but a pair of Buffalo firefighters gave the victim a fighting chance by putting their own safety on the line to pull her from the burning home.

The fire alarm sounded on March 1, 2005.  A house was fully involved in flames on Eastwood Place in Buffalo.  Arriving at the scene Firefighters John Relosky and Tom Smolarek learned someone was trapped inside the two-story house.

Fire was blocking the normal building entrances.  Relosky and another firefighter climbed though a rear window beyond the fire, without the protection of hose lines.  Relosky and Smolarek met in the hallway of the bedroom then proceeded to search the bathroom.  Terry Hamner was unconscious on the bathroom floor. With fire and smoke at the front of the house, Relosky and Smolarek decided to take the woman out the rear bedroom.  Smolarek took out the rear bedroom window and jumped to the ground. Relosky handed the victim to Smolarek who then carried the woman around front. The woman was in full cardiac arrest when handed off to emergency medical personnel at the site and was revived at the hospital.

The actions of Smolarek and Relosky gave the victim a fighting chance for survival but the 40-year-old woman ultimately died of severe smoke inhalation.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Firefighters John Relosky and Thomas Smolarek for their heroic action on March 1, 2005.

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Firefighter Mark Mendola / Buffalo Fire Department

Just before Christmas 2004, Ladder 4 responded to a structure fire at 65 Florida Street.  Neighbors gave them more bad news – people were trapped on the second floor, the same floor as the fire.

Firefighter Mark Mendola was on the first truck to arrive at the scene.  He went upstairs through the front to the kitchen.  Mendola quickly located a victim on the floor.  Firefighter James Hart assisted Mendola in bringing the female from the kitchen to the rear stairwell.

Once in a safe area they found she had a pulse but was not breathing.  CPR was administered.  Regaining a pulse she was transferred to the ambulance crew.  Mendola assisted the crew as the victim was transported to ECMC.

The victim was hospitalized in ECMC’s Burn Intensive Care Unit with severe burns to her face, arms, and chest.  Fortunately, the victim survived after more than two weeks in a coma.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Firefighter Mark Mendola for his heroic action on December 22, 2004.

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Charles Mathewson / Civilian

Charles Mathewson was just about to go to sleep on June 7, 2005, when he heard crackling sounds coming from the house next door on Roesch Avenue in Buffalo’s Riverside section.  He saw an orange glow reflected on the driveway. The first floor apartment was on fire.

Knowing that six children and three adults lived in the house, Mathewson quickly ran over screaming and yelling to make sure that they were out of the house.  He soon discovered that his neighbor, Bob Hooker, was trapped in the upper apartment and could not make it down the stairs.  The smoke was so thick that Hooker asked Mathewson to keep yelling so that he could follow his voice.

Mathewson quickly grabbed a ladder and was able to help Hooker climb down safely.  The victim suffered mild smoke inhalation and was treated at Sisters Hospital.

Had it not been for Mathewson’s quick thinking and fast action, Hooker may have suffered severely.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Charles Mathewson for his heroic action on June 7, 2005.

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Lieutenant Keith Burke / Buffalo Fire Department

Lt. Keith Burke was at a fire on December 22, 2004.  He was on an immediate search for anyone in the burning building.

Entering the second floor, Burke encountered heavy smoke and moderate heat.  He began searching through the living room and moved on to the front bedroom rapidly sweeping the rooms.  He found a bed but no victims.  Blankets were strewn all over the floor.  He removed one glove to make sure he could feel anyone under the blankets.  He then felt a body and grabbed the victim under her arms.  He had to drag her out of the room. With the assistance of Sean McKinnie and Michael Wisiniewski, they carried her through the living room to the second floor stairs. They adjusted her at the stairs and brought her down to an awaiting stretcher.

Burke’s actions gave the victim a fighting chance for survival. However, the 12-year-old died three days later on Christmas Day.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Lt. Keith Burke for his heroic action on December 22, 2004.

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Officer Julio LeBron / Town of Tonawanda Police

At Hollywood Video’s parking lot on Niagara Falls Blvd in Tonawanda, the smoke-filled car and sparks coming from underneath weren’t entertainment.  Witnesses realized the diver was unresponsive and called 911.

Smoke was beginning to fill the car when Officer Julio LeBron arrived on the scene.  He opened the car door but couldn’t rouse the driver.  He began to unfasten the seatbelt and pull the driver out.  He heard a loud pop and the vehicle blew up and caught fire.  The driver was still partially in the vehicle.  LeBron struggled with the seatbelt as the fire intensified.  Finally, he was able to free the trapped driver and drag him away from the burning car.

It wasn’t until he was safely away from the car that the driver Norman Taylor realized what had happened.  “Holy cow,” said Taylor, “he risked his life to save me!”

Taylor was listed in good condition in Buffalo General Hospital, may have suffered a medical problem prior to the fire.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Officer Julio Lebron for his heroic action on July 10, 2005.


2004 Hero Awards

Firefighter Jason Czora / Buffalo Fire Department
Firefighter Jerry Nappo / Buffalo Fire Department
Firefighter Michael Connelly / Buffalo Fire Department

 On July 19, 2003 Buffalo firefighters from Truck 11 of the 2nd Platoon responded to a fire at Sweet and Moselle Street in the City of Buffalo.  Upon arrival, Firefighters Jason Czora, Jerry Nappo and Michael Connelly found a two and one-half story vacant house fully engulfed in flames.  Other Buffalo firefighters had already entered the building in an attempt to put out the fire.  Suddenly the second floor collapsed, injuring two of the other firefighters and pinning Firefighter Rochester Davis beneath it.


Upon hearing of the collapse, with total disregard for their own safety and the possibility of a second collapse, Firefighters Czora, Nappo and Connelly ran into the building to help their colleague.  When they reached the trapped firefighter, they found a twelve foot by two foot section of floor weighing in excess of five hundred pounds had fallen on Firefighter Davis, trapping him beneath it.  The three firefighters were able to lift the floor and free Firefighter Davis.  As a result of their quick and decisive actions, a firefighter’s life was saved.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognizes Firefighters Jason Czora, Jerry Nappo and Michael Connelly for their heroic actions of July 19, 2003.


back to topLieutenant Paul Delano / Buffalo Police Department
Lieutenant Amy Marracino / Buffalo Police Department

On August 5, 2003 while working the 4:00 pm to 2:00 am shift, Lieutenants Paul Delano and Amy Marracino of the Buffalo Police Department were flagged down by a woman who pointed to a man while yelling, “That’s him! That’s him! He raped her!”  They ordered the suspect, who was on a bike, to stop, but he peddled faster.  The lieutenants gave chase. Lieutenant Delano followed the suspect into a rear yard where he was ambushed by the suspect, who hit him over the head with a lead pipe.  Lieutenant Delano fired at the suspect. The suspect dropped the pipe and came after the lieutenant’s gun.  The two men wrestled for the gun.  Despite his head injury, Lieutenant Delano was determined not to let the suspect get his gun. Lieutenant Marracino, who had returned to the car to radio for backup, finally caught up with Lieutenant Delano and the suspect. She quickly realized that the slide on the gun was open rendering it useless. Lieutenant Marracino jumped into the fray and quickly helped subdue the suspect. The suspect, who was recently paroled from prison, had just brutally raped a young college student and attempted to rape another, who was forced to jump out a second story window to escape.  On September 15, 2004 this suspect received a 75 year to life sentence as a persistent violent felony offender.  If not for the quick action and determination on the part of these officers, a very violent and dangerous man would still be on our streets.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognizes Lieutenants Paul Delano and Amy Marracino for their heroic actions August 5, 2003.

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Diane Long / Civilian

On December 17, 2003 Diane Long was riding the metro bus when a fight erupted between a male and female passenger.  It was later determined that they were boyfriend and girlfriend. The male suddenly pulled out a knife and began stabbing his girlfriend in the throat, finally slicing her throat with the knife. The woman began spurting blood from her throat.  Ms. Long ran down the aisle of the bus, grabbed the injured woman, and dragged her away from her attacker.  After getting the victim into a seat, Ms. Long was able to calm her down enough to apply pressure and stop the woman from bleeding to death.  Due to Ms. Long’s bravery and calm demeanor, the woman’s life was saved.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognizes Ms. Diane Long for her heroic actions of December 17, 2003.

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Trooper Anthony S. Larock / New York State Police

Fire claimed the life of a Buffalo woman but a pair of Buffalo firefighters gave the victim a fighting chance by putting their own safety on the line to pull her from the burning home.

The fire alarm sounded on March 1, 2005.  A house was fully involved in flames on Eastwood Place in Buffalo.  Arriving at the scene Firefighters John Relosky and Tom Smolarek learned someone was trapped inside the two-story house.

Fire was blocking the normal building entrances.  Relosky and another firefighter climbed though a rear window beyond the fire, without the protection of hose lines.  Relosky and Smolarek met in the hallway of the bedroom then proceeded to search the bathroom.  Terry Hamner was unconscious on the bathroom floor. With fire and smoke at the front of the house, Relosky and Smolarek decided to take the woman out the rear bedroom.  Smolarek took out the rear bedroom window and jumped to the ground. Relosky handed the victim to Smolarek who then carried the woman around front. The woman was in full cardiac arrest when handed off to emergency medical personnel at the site and was revived at the hospital.

The actions of Smolarek and Relosky gave the victim a fighting chance for survival but the 40-year-old woman ultimately died of severe smoke inhalation.

The 100 Club of Buffalo recognizes Firefighters John Relosky and Thomas Smolarek for their heroic action on March 1, 2005.

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2003 Hero Awards

William Harris / Civilian
Christopher Klinshaw / Civilian

On March 13, 2003 William Harris and Christopher Klinshaw were working at a steel hauling company when they heard an explosion from across the street. They arrived at 344 Katherine Street in Buffalo’s Old First Ward to find the house engulfed in flames. They could hear a woman screaming for help from inside. They entered the home with no firefighting skills or equipment and located the woman. The woman was bound with duct tape and unable to move. The woman kept telling them that a man was trying to kill her. Harris and Klinshaw grabbed the severely burned woman and carried her outside to safety. The house at 344 Katherine St. was literally leveled by the explosion and ensuing fire. If not for the selfless actions of these two civilians the woman would surely have perished. The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognizes William Harris and Christopher Klinshaw for their heroic action of March 13, 2003.

back to topCaptain Kevin Caffery / Erie County Sheriff’s Office
Tactical Flight Officer Arthur Litzinger / Erie County Sheriff’s Office
Sergeant Patrick Moriarty / State Park Police
Firefighter Gary Carella / Niagara Falls Fire Department

On March 19, 2003 a despondent 47 year old man waded into the waters at the brink of the falls in an attempt to end his life and became caught up on the rocks. Capt. Kevin Caffery and Officer Arthur Litzinger of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office responded in the rescue helicopter while Sgt. Pat Moriarty of the State Park Police and Niagara Falls firefighter Gary Carellla waded into the icy waters in an attempt to reach the man. Capt. Caffery attempted to steady the helicopter against strong winds and blinding mist while Litzinger literally leaned over the side of the helicopter in an attempt to get a line in place. The first two helicopter attempts were thwarted by the wildly unpredictable updrafts from the falls and the helicopter had to pull away threatening to flip the helicopter at any moment. Moriarty and Carella were making their own attempts to reach the man fighting against the numbing water, slabs of ice and rushing currents. Moriarty made several attempts to throw the man a life ring only to have the wind whip it away. As the helicopter returned Moriarty and Carella kept a constant banter going with the man who was rapidly giving up hope. The man in the water was yelling “don’t leave me” and Caffery responded with “we’re coming back for you” the helicopter was again forced away. As a final attempt was being made to lower a life ring to the man he was dragged under by the current. The rescuers looked away in horror believing the man had been swept over the falls. Moments later the desperate man was crawling back over the edge of the falls. Realizing they were out of time Caffery and Litzinger took a one in a million shot and dropped the life ring in hopes that it would float within reach of the man. It worked and the man grabbed the ring only to be pulled under an ice ledge. Moriarty seeing what happened dove toward the man and began chopping at the ice with frozen fists until he was able to grab the man’s hand. Gary Carella realized that Moriarty needed help and dove into the water swimming under the ice ledge to grab the mans coat. As Carella surfaced he was wrapped around the man and held onto him as the rescuers pulled the two of them to safety. If not for the heroic efforts of these four individuals the man surely would have died.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognizes Capt Kevin Caffery, Officer Arthur Litzinger, Sgt. Patrick Moriarty and Firefighter Gary Carella for their heroic actions of March 19, 2003.

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Lieutenant Phil Losi / Buffalo Fire Department

On March 23,2003 Lt. Phil Losi of the Buffalo Fire Department arrived at the scene of a fire at 715 Delaware Avenue. Dense smoke was emanating from the building and the doors were locked. A neighbor advised Lt. Losi that a woman was still inside. Without thought for his own safety he kicked in the door and entered the smoke filled building. No water lines were in place and he encountered high heat and impenetrable smoke. He found the semi-conscious woman with her hair in flames. Lt. Losi extinguished her burning hair and carried the woman to safety. As a result of his quick and selfless actions a woman’s life was saved.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognize Lieutenant Phil Losi for his heroic actions of March 23, 2003.

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Lieutenant James Koch / Hamburg Police Department

Shortly after 8:00 p.m. on September 8, 2002 Lt. James Koch of the Hamburg Police Dept. responded the call of a strong arm robbery at the McKinley Mall. He encountered the suspect a short distance from the mall after he had dragged a security guard 100 feet and then struck another vehicle while fleeing the scene. The suspect jumped out of his vehicle and into another vehicle at the crash scene. Lt. Koch, seeing a young male still seated in the passenger seat of the second vehicle, dove into the vehicle through the open door giving the 14 year old passenger time to escape before the suspect took off the stolen vehicle. Lt. Koch repeatedly ordered the suspect to stop to no avail. With half of his body outside the vehicle’s window and the other half trapped behind the suspect’s back Koch struggled to gain control of the vehicle. At speeds of up to 85m.p.h. the suspect swerved into oncoming traffic and struck several vehicles. Lt. Koch finally managed to get free and pulled himself into the back seat and again ordered the suspect to stop. When the suspect refused Koch pulled out his service revolver and again ordered the suspect to stop. The suspect merely turned an smiled at the officer who was left with no other option than to shoot the suspect in order to stop the out of control vehicle.

The 100 Club of Buffalo & Western New York recognize Lieutenant James Koch for his heroic actions of September 8, 2003.

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2002 Hero Awards

  • Firefighter Thomas Jackson, City of Buffalo Fire Department
  • Trooper Brian M. Pazderski, New York State Police
  • Wayne LeVea, Civilian
  • George Synder, Civilian
  • Thomas H. O’Neill, Jr., Civilian

2001 Hero Awards

  • Trooper James W. Buono / New York State Police
  • John W. Quinn / Civilian
  • Lieutenant Michael McCarthy / Buffalo Fire Department
  • Officer Ralph Skinner / Buffalo Police Department
  • Officer Gerald Sullivan / Buffalo Police Department
  • Officer Shane Krieger / East Aurora Police Department
  • Darrewn M. Hughes / Civilian
  • Officer Robert Ellis / Village of Angola Police Department