(WIVB) — The Kenmore man who police say saved dozens of people during the Christmas weekend blizzard is now headed to the Super Bowl.
Jay Withey used a brake pad to break into Pine Hill Primary Center on East Delavan Avenue in Cheektowaga. He then climbed inside, opening the school’s doors to more than 20 people who were stranded.
“I’d like to think everyone would do what I did,” Withey said.
His story quickly went viral, and among those who heard about it were Patti and Thurman Thomas. They reached out and invited Withey to join them in their suite during the Bills game against the New England Patriots.
“Never would I have ever thought I would get the outreach that it has, or the amount of opportunities that I’ve gotten over this,” he said. “Patti and Thurman Thomas are great people.”
But that wasn’t the only surprise the couple had in store. Last week, with some help from Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Bills, Patti and Thurman rewarded Withey’s heroic actions with two tickets to the Super Bowl.
In a statement to News 4, Patti Thomas said she and Thurman are proud to call Jay a friend, and “we can all learn a lesson on what it means to care for all your neighbors, regardless of race, religion, politics or anything else.”
“To get some sort of recognition is very humbling,” Withey said. “I hope it sends a message to everyone to just do the right thing and help out when you can.”
Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here and follow her on Twitter.