MTA honors officers who rescued man from tracks in Brooklyn
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) honored two NYPD officers with the commendation “Hero of the Subway” for saving a visually impaired man who had fallen off the subway platform.
Police Officer Jason Macaluso and Detective Henry Greco discovered Suleiman Rifai, 61, had fallen onto the tracks face-first on Wednesday, May 18. Macaluso and Greco then quickly assisted him as an A train approached the station. The title endowed to Macaluso and Greco is the highest honor which the MTA can bestow upon someone who is not an employee of the MTA.
“We did hear the train coming towards us at first and then we saw the light of a train coming,” said Detective Greco. “I waved my arms and used my flashlight to wave down the train to slow it down.”
Officer Macaluso spoke to Rifai to guide him back towards the platform, “I felt he’d be comforted by the sound of my voice and used it to guide him towards us.”
The officers then grabbed Rifai, pulled him up onto the platform and had him sit down on a nearby bench.
“I want to say thank you for the officers who rescued me last week,” said Suleiman Rifai.
“Without you I would never be here today, so I really am grateful for you being there at the right time. And when I heard your voices, I knew I would be okay. And I’m okay today and again from the bottom of my heart, you are my friends for life for saving my life. And I really appreciate you.”
Detective Greco and Officer Macaluso are Neighborhood Coordination Officers, normally part of Police Service Area 2 but were assigned to patrol the Grant Street platform as part of Mayor Adams’ Subway Safety plan that deploys officers from precincts around the city to perform inspections underground in subway stations.
“We’re housing cops,” said Officer Macaluso. “Normally, we’re in buildings walking up and down stairs on patrol. We don’t have trains rolling towards us.”
“They do a lot for the community,” said Chief of the NYPD’s Housing Bureau Jeffrey Maddrey.
“They worked with the youth when we used to run sports programs. During the whole COVID pandemic they got food trucks to come out into the Brownsville Community to serve people who were dealing with food insecurity. These two officers do an awful lot for the community. They go above and beyond for the community, and they truly are heroes.”
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