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Buffalo Man praised for protecting people and dogs at school during blizzard

A man who grabbed multiple people from vehicles and sheltered them at a nearby school during a blizzard in Erie County in western New York on Dec. 23 was identified by local police on Thursday, Dec. 29, who described his actions as “heroic”. Withey of the Buffalo suburb of Tonawanda broke a window of the school to allow 10 other people and two dogs inside to stay warm and safe. and help other people within. Police said if it hadn’t been for a handwritten note Withey left inside the school, they might not have known anyone had been inside, as officers initially thought the window had been broken by the wind. . In the letter, Withey apologized for the damage to the window and explained that the blizzard conditions outside had left more people trapped in their vehicles. “There were also seven elderly people stranded and out of fuel. I had to do this to save everyone and get them shelter, food and a bathroom. Merry Christmas, Jay,” Withey wrote, without leaving his last name or further details. After surveillance cameras at the school revealed that a group of people had taken refuge inside the school, police released the images and he asked for help identifying “Jay”. He watched surveillance video and witnessed people caring for people. There was a freezer full of food but no one touched it. They only ate what was necessary to survive. They used the gym to for the kids to play and they pulled smart boards out of the classrooms to watch the news for updates. They also had 2 dogs that they were caring for. When they were finally able to walk away safely, you’d never know there was it was someone there,” Cheektowaga Police wrote on Facebook. “This group of extraordinary people cared for each other and for the building they found refuge in. Neither the Erie 1 BOCES nor the Cheektowaga Central Administration wants charges brought,” police said , referring to the public education authorities of the area. Thursday night, Cheektowaga Police said they had identified the man as Jay Withey. “Our boss was able to talk to him and express our gratitude for his heroic deeds. This is a photo we received of them that night. Jay said they are all like family now and are planning a summer get together,” police said. On Friday, Withey and the people she helped were gathered at the school and interviewed by national media, officials said. At least 39 people were killed by the storm, according to Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz.Credit: Cheektowaga Police Department via Storyful

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