New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) presented 34 MTA New York City Transit (NYC Transit) employees with Medals of Excellence for exemplary service and acts of heroism and altruism.
New York City Transit President Andy Byford presented the annual Medals of Excellence to transit employees, including the Department of Subways, Department of Buses, and Staten Island Railway (SIR), thanking them for going above and beyond in their efforts to help customers, colleagues, and the city during a ceremony at MTA’s headquarters.
“New York City Transit employees are among the city’s hardest working and bravest public servants because on any given day, they face incredibly challenging situations that require quick thinking and courage,” said NYC Transit President Andy Byford. “Our employees keep customers safe and transit moving by keeping cool heads in heated moments. We thank these employees whose inspiring acts of humanity and bravery help make the MTA network — and the whole city — a better, safer, and kinder place.”
This year’s ceremony honored workers for service and acts of bravery in 2016 and 2017, including two terrorism attacks. Fifteen workers were acknowledged for acts of heroism and bravery that occurred either on or off duty; 16 were recognized for job-related acts that involved personal risk or exceptional judgment; and three employees were honored for distinguished service reflecting the highest standards and ideals of a public servant.
Among the honorees were:
- Subways signal maintainer David Martinez, who saved the life of a colleague after she tripped on the tracks and made contact with the live third rail in October 2016. Martinez immediately called for help, then performed chest compressions to the beat of the Bee Gees’ disco hit “Stayin’ Alive,” a trick he learned from reading a newspaper article. She regained consciousness, a rare example of survival for anyone who touches a live third rail, and remains in recovery.
- Subways station cleaner Sean Monroe, who was en route to clean a spill within the 42 St-Port Authority station complex on Dec. 11, 2017, when an explosion occurred in a pedestrian passageway. Monroe was close enough to see the suspect and witness the explosion. He quickly worked to evacuate the area, directing customers to exits and even assisting customers retrieve their belongings after the evacuation.
- SIR conductor Kiamesha Scott, who saw an allegedly intoxicated male customer fall onto the tracks in August 2017. She alerted operations managers to stop incoming trains and remove power from the third rail as other customers pulled the man onto the platform. When he became combative and tried to return to the tracks, Scott restrained him until police removed him to a hospital.
The awards were presented in three areas:
- Heroism: Employees who perform specific acts of bravery, on or off duty, in the face of extremely dangerous circumstances that could have resulted in personal injury or death.
- Commendation: For job-related acts involving personal risk or requiring exceptional judgment. The employee’s decisions and actions indicate that, without quick thinking and corrective measures, highly undesirable and dire consequences could have resulted.
- Distinguished Service: For employees who have demonstrated outstanding efficiency that reflects the highest standards and ideals of a dedicated public employee.
Nominations for honorees were sent to the MTA’s Employee Recognition Program Committee, which selected employees that met the committee’s criteria in the above mentioned categories.