New York Daily News
11 who typify best of bus & rail system earn awards today
The transit workers who toil in dark train tunnels, dank subway stations and behind the wheels of buses will be in the spotlight Tuesday at the Daily News’ fourth annual Hometown Heroes in Transit awards.
The News, in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and the Transport Workers Union Local 100, will fete these employees Tuesday morning at the historic Edison Ballroom in Times Square to celebrate their stories of heroism on the job and dedication to protecting New York’s riding public and their colleagues.
“I am delighted that the Daily News can once again honor some of the unsung and many times unseen heroes of our city’s transit system,” said News Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich. “These 12 individuals demonstrated the qualities of a Hometown Hero: generosity, compassion, dedication, selflessness and ingenuity. Their efforts genuinely deserve to be recognized.”
The Hometown Heroes in Transit award honors the often-unrecognized work of thousands of MTA employees by highlighting the people who go the extra mile and risk their own well-being when a rider needs help.
These are the station agents and cleaners who are the extra pair of eyes and ears of the transit system, train conductors who safely transport millions of riders a day, mechanics who keep aging infrastructure usable and bus drivers who navigate massive machines through crowded streets.
The winners being honored this year exemplify the best of the best among the people who join the ranks of MTA and TWU. This year, the batch of award recipients include workers who make moving trains come to a screeching halt, stare down belligerent and potentially dangerous criminal suspects and keep their eyes attuned to the throngs to spot someone in distress.
A star-studded cast of presenters at Tuesday’s ceremony, hosted by NY1 anchor and past Hometown Heroes emcee Pat Kiernan, will hand the winners a certificate and medal before family, friends and the transit community.
“One of my favorite things at the Hometown Heroes breakfasts is to see how much it means to the families of the transit workers,” said Kiernan, who was also a Hometown Heroes judge. “There’s a great look of pride on the faces of the parents and spouses and children who attend.”
Notable presenters include former Giants defensive end Gary Jeter, members of the music group Bachata Heightz and Juan Gonzalez.
NBC News anchor David Ushery, who will present an award, said he was honored to congratulate transit workers who have “stepped up in extraordinary ways.”
“I love it when we can come together as a community and recognize the people who literally keep us moving forward, day in, day out,” Ushery said.
A panel of nine judges, including The News’ Rich, MTA Chairman Thomas Prendergast, TWU President John Samuelsen, and Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, had the difficult task of voting for 11 winners from a pool of 20 nominations exemplifying the diversity and tenacity of the transit system’s workforce.
A 12th transit worker will be bestowed with a special judge’s award honoring a unique contribution to the quality of the passenger experience.