BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bisons are planning to show their appreciation for a man who earned the moniker “Merry Christmas Jay.”
Erie County resident Jay Withey became a hero during the Christmas blizzard, breaking into a Cheektowaga elementary school and creating a shelter for two dozen people stuck in the snow.
“Rather than remaining in the school himself, Withey made several trips back out into the storm to bring as many people as he could back into the school for protection from the elements,” the Bisons said.
When the blizzard was over, police were searching the inside of Pine Hill Primary Center, where they found a note apologizing for the break-in. Withey’s new nickname stemmed from the way he signed it, which was “Merry Christmas, Jay.”
Given the atypical situation, Withey was not charged but instead thanked by Cheektowaga police for his heroism.
Withey, among other blizzard heroes, was later honored by Governor Kathy Hochul. He was even given a free pair of Super Bowl tickets, courtesy of Patti and Thurman Thomas.
Friday night, Withey will step up to the plate once again, throwing the ceremonial first pitch in the Buffalo Bisons’ game against the Rochester Red Wings.
Friday night happens to be super hero themed — the Bisons’ first of two this season. This one’s called “Marvel’s Defenders of the Diamond Night.”
Pre-game ceremonies will take place at 6:10 p.m., with the game following at 6:35. Tickets for the game can be purchased here.
Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.