I remember when I first heard about Wesley Autrey and what he did on Jan. 2, 2007. It was an astonishing act of bravery and selflessness, and the fact that he was so matter-of-fact about it made it even more so. I knew then I wanted to help him and his family, and I was pleased that he agreed to come to my office to meet me and receive the $10,000 check I had for him. I wanted to meet a hero. What I met was a very unassuming man who felt what he did was simply the right thing to do. It was that simple to him. In reality, it was anything but simple. In case you're not familiar with his story, Autrey, 51, was waiting for the subway in New York City when a young man suffered a seizure and fell onto the tracks. A train was coming into the station, and Autrey knew the man would be killed, so he quickly jumped onto the tracks and covered the man with his body. Autrey does construction work, and he has good instincts about confined spaces. He realized there might be a chance of survival if he could keep the man still until the train passed. It passed over them with inches to spare, so close that there was grease on Autrey's cap from the train.
I have great respect for construction workers, and Wesley Autrey is a great example of why I do. They work hard, and every day requires courage. Autrey automatically became an influential person by merit of his extraordinary bravery, which I hope will encourage and inspire other people to follow his example.
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