Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams on Thursday paid tribute to a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) worker who rescued a woman on the subway tracks at the Franklin Avenue station in Crown Heights.
Ralph Johnson, a station agent and member of Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100, was declared “Hero of the Month” for December at a ceremony at Brooklyn Borough Hall to recognize his quick thinking and bravery.
The announcement is a continuation of Adams’s monthly “Hero of the Month” events honoring the accomplishments of Brooklynites from all walks of life.
“Ralph Johnson could never have imagined that he would have an opportunity to demonstrate his heroism when he arrived early for a shift on Labor Day,” Adams said.
“We now know that he had that capacity within himself, the capacity to risk his life to prevent death or serious harm to another individual,” he added. “From my days wearing NYPD blue, I can truly appreciate the difficulty of situations when instant reaction and response is needed to save lives. This example should inspire us to act with similar compassion to protect individuals who are in trouble.”
On Sept. 7, Johnson, 63, arrived early for his work shift, when he noticed that a woman had fallen onto the tracks.
He jumped on the tracks and alerted a train entering the station to stop. When it stopped, he worked with two police officers to return the woman to safety on the platform.
“Ralph Johnson jumped into an incredibly dangerous situation in order to save another’s life,” said John Samuelsen, president of TWU Local 100. “He didn’t wait for someone else to take action. He used his training and got the job done. That’s what transit workers do. He’s a hero and we’re proud to have him as a Local 100 member.”
“Mr. Johnson’s brave actions and quick thinking exemplify the many ways that MTA workers often go above the call of duty to help customers and, sometimes, to save a life,” said Wynton Habersham, acting senior vice president for subways of New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA).
“He arrived to work early that day in September to familiarize himself with a new assignment,” Habersham added. “In doing so, he was on the platform just as a woman, who had fallen onto the tracks, needed help. He put aside his own safety when he jumped down onto the tracks to come to her aid and to stop an oncoming train before it was too late. We are very proud to call Mr. Johnson a member of the NYCTA family.”
Additionally, Adams celebrated two Good Samaritans who were recent “Heroes of the Month” and were cited for their deeds at an earlier time.
Michael Matusiak, a mechanic from Greenpoint, was posthumously named “Hero of the Month” for October for standing up to several thugs attempting to smash into parked vehicles in East Williamsburg.
Matusiak was fatally shot during the incident on Oct., leaving behind a fiancée and two daughters.
Delroy Simmonds was awarded “Hero of the Month” for November for to his valor while traveling to a job interview on Oct. 27, when a strong gust of wind blew a nine-month-old boy onto the subway tracks at the Van Siclen Avenue station in Cypress Hills.
As a train approached, Simmonds jumped down onto the tracks and hoisted the bleeding infant — still strapped into his stroller — to safety on the platform.