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3 weeks ago · by · 0 comments

Buffalo Man Hailed Hero For Breaking Into School to Shelter People During Blizzard

A remarkable story from the Buffalo blizzard that hit during the Christmas holiday, a man became a hero after breaking into a school. The Edge Academy school’s alarm went off on Christmas Eve, but due to the ‘worst snow storm in a generation‘ the local police near Buffalo, New York, were unable to quickly respond.

When the Cheektowaga Police did arrive, they found one of the windows had been broken out—but checking the school building, they found nothing out of place. They thought maybe the damage was caused from the hurricane-force winds—until they saw a handwritten note left on a table. The note started with an apology for causing damage to the window—and having to borrow the snow blower to rescue others who had run out of gas while trapped in their cars. “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.” The note was signed, Merry Christmas, Jay.

Officers were astonished when they watched the school’s video surveillance. “We witnessed people taking care of people,” said a report on the Department’s Facebook Page. After breaking in, Jay went back out into the storm and found others who were freezing in their cars, and brought them inside—24 in total, and 2 dogs. Once settled inside, he found granola bars, water, and blankets in the nurse’s office, and gathered apples, juice, and cereal from the kitchen.

Kids played in the gym while adults watched football games and storm updates on television. The hours on Saturday turned into a Christmas Day Sunday, spent sheltering at the school.
The police facebook post said “When they were finally able to leave safely, you never would have known anyone was there. This group of amazing people cleaned up all the tables… and the building they found shelter in. There was a freezer full of food but no one touched it. They only ate what was necessary to stay alive.”

Soon, police wanted to identify the mysterious ‘Jay,’ so they could commend him for “actions that one-hundred-percent saved lives”. After they did find the 27-year-old, they announced on Facebook: ‘Because of Jay Withey, people are still alive.’ Jay even used the school’s snowblower to dig out other stuck cars, to help clear the streets for plows.

Jay told news outlets “I’m just grateful that I had the opportunity, and I had the will to do it.” The group is “like family” now—and is already planning a reunion in Spring. Not only did the school decline to press charges, they told the group who offered to pay for the snacks and damaged window not to worry about it saying they are just happy they were safe and warm.


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