Man Who Rescued 24 People During Buffalo Blizzard Gifted Super Bowl Tickets

Jane Nguyen
By Jane Nguyen
January 17, 2023New Yorkshare
Man Who Rescued 24 People During Buffalo Blizzard Gifted Super Bowl Tickets
Screenshot of Jay Withey from surveillance video from Pine Hill School in Cheektowaga, N.Y., on Dec. 24, 2022. (Courtesy of Cheektowaga Police Department)

Jay Withey, who helped save 24 people last month during a snowstorm in Buffalo, New York, was rewarded for his actions on Friday with tickets to the upcoming Super Bowl in Glendale, Arizona.

Retired Bills running back Thurman Thomas and his wife, Patricia Thomas, surprised Withey at work with two tickets to Super Bowl LVII on behalf of the Buffalo Bills and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.

“We love you. We know what you did on Christmas Eve was very heroic and you are our hero,” Thurman Thomas said. “The Bills and Highmark want to present you with these tickets to go watch the Super Bowl.”

“We just want to say thank you for all you did and we love you. Buffalo loves you, buddy,” Patti Thomas said. “You’re a hero to us and to everyone else.”

The local hero was shocked at the number of people who had reached out to him after he was identified as the man behind “Merry Christmas Joe.”

“I can’t believe the amount of reach out I got,” Withey said. “I got thank you letters from Australia—I can’t believe how far it got but it was wild.”

“I’m speechless, honestly. This is wild,” he added of the Super Bowl surprise.

Withey was among a group of people trapped in their cars during the blizzard. On Christmas Eve, he broke into a school building to find shelter and gathered two dozen others who were stranded outside.

The 27-year-old mechanic left a note of apology in the school for damaging school property and explained that he had to take drastic action to keep everyone safe.

A letter signed “Jay” posted on Cheektowaga Police Department’s Facebook page. (Courtesy of Cheektowaga Police Department)

“I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window [and] for breaking in the kitchen,” Withey wrote.

“Got stuck at 8 p.m. Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers. Just trying not to die. There were 7 elderly people also stuck and out of fuel. I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter and food and a bathroom.”

Police later found Withey and thank him. “He definitely saved some lives that day,” Cheektowaga police chief Brian Gould said.

Withey told CNN, “You get into to that kind of situation, you have to think about yourself, think about others.”
“It’s just a matter of survival and just doing the right thing and being respectful.”

“Buffalo is a city of good neighbors, great neighbors actually,” he added. “We’re all just a big family. Everyone just sticks together and we’re resilient. You can’t put us down.”

From The Epoch Times

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