Four Metro-North Employees Received Commendations During MTA’s May Board Meeting
MTA Chairman and CEO Patrick Foye, Metro-North Railroad President Catherine Rinaldi and MTA Police Chief Joseph McGrann today honored four heroic Metro-North employees for their role in assisting someone experiencing a medical emergency in the Bronx nearly one year ago. The four Metro-North employees – Fernando Casanova, Nico Palazzolo, Erik Rivera and Rubin Soto – were completing their shift at Metro-North's Highbridge Yard on May 28, 2020, when the incident occurred.
Rivera and Soto, who are both coach cleaners, were wrapping up their shift a little past 11 p.m. when they heard someone call out in severe pain. The victim had come into contact with a passing CSX freight train on CSX tracks and badly injured his hand. As the victim came closer, Soto noticed the severity of the injury. He immediately began the work of triaging it by tying the victim’s shirt around their upper arm to stem the flow of the wound. Rivera went to alert the Foreman, Palazzolo, while Soto walked the victim towards the Metro-North facility.
Palazzolo immediately called emergency teams to the train yard facility and was alerted of the trauma kit Metro-North had on-scene. Palazzolo and Casanova, an electrician, both hurried to retrieve the Blood Borne Pathogen Infection Control Kit and met Rivera and Soto back in front of the facility to assist the victim.
They convened with Soto and Rivera in the front of the facility with the victim. They then sat the victim down and practicing safe COVID procedures – such as donning surgical gloves and keeping a safe distance – Palazzolo used towels from the kit and a rubber tourniquet to stem the flow of blood. Casanova assisted Palazzolo with the bleeding control, while Soto and Rivera tried to keep the man awake.
The four heroic employees kept the victim awake and vigilant long enough for MTAPD and EMT to arrive on scene. EMT teams worked to stabilize the victim’s condition before transporting him to a nearby hospital.
“This is a shining example of our workforce’s compassion and quick thinking,” said Chairman Foye. “Thanks to the heroic acts of these employees, the MTAPD officers and EMT workers, a person facing a serious medical emergency was given the best possible care and very well saved a life.”
“The immediate action taken saved this man’s life,” said President Rinaldi. “These four men displayed courage, integrity and the will to act. We hope this commendation can show our appreciation and showcase the character of the Metro-North family.”
“The quick action taken by these heroes made it easier for our officers to do their job,” said Chief McGrann. “Everyone involved did a phenomenal job contacting our precinct so all we had to do was get to the scene as soon as possible and do what we do best.”
Six months later, on January 16, 2021, Palazzolo received an email from MTAPD saying that Palazzolo, Casanova, Rivera and Soto were being recommended to the Chief of Police that the four employees receive a Civilian Commendation for “an act of outstanding bravery or heroism, or an outstanding contribution to law enforcement, by which the individual has demonstrated the characteristics of personal courage and integrity.”
MTAPD plans to honor their officers involved in the rescue at a department ceremony later this year.