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`Hero of Harlem' is honored after subway rescue

January 05, 2007|From the Associated Press

NEW YORK — A man's daring rescue of a film student who fell onto the subway tracks earned him the title "the hero of Harlem" on Thursday, plus $10,000 from Donald Trump and a trip to Disney World.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg bestowed the title upon Wesley Autrey as he presented the 50-year-old construction worker with the city's highest award for civic achievement and called him "a great man -- a man who makes us all proud to be New Yorkers."

Past recipients of the Bronze Medallion have included Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Muhammad Ali and Willie Mays.

On Tuesday, Autrey saw Cameron Hollopeter, 19, suffering a seizure while waiting for a train. After stumbling down the platform, Hollopeter fell onto the tracks with a train on its way into the station.

Autrey jumped down to the tracks and rolled with the young man into a drainage trough between the rails.

Train cars passed over them with only a couple of inches to spare, but neither man was hurt. Hollopeter, hospitalized for his medical condition, was in stable condition Thursday.

After the City Hall ceremony, a limousine whisked Autrey -- who also received a year's worth of free subway rides -- to a meeting with Trump, who presented him with $10,000.

He also has received $2,500 from the New York Film Academy to start a scholarship fund for his children, and tickets and a backstage tour to the Broadway musical "The Lion King."

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