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Subway Heroes Honored For Rescuing Man Seconds Before Train Would Have Hit

Doreen Winkler and Victor Samuel were honored Tuesday for saving a man from nearly being hit by a subway train, and risking their own lives in doing so. (Credit: CBS 2)

Doreen Winkler and Victor Samuel were honored Tuesday for saving a man from nearly being hit by a subway train, and risking their own lives in doing so. (Credit: CBS 2)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In the midst of all the sadness this week, here is a story of courage and heroism from the New York City subway.

As CBS 2’s Don Dahler reported, two people were honored Tuesday who had nothing in common except a fateful moment, and a heroic heart.

Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz declared Tuesday Doreen Winkler Recognition Day, as well as Victor Samuel Recognition Day. Winkler, of Brooklyn, plans party events for companies, while Samuel, 43, of Forest Hills, Queens is a father of two.

But on Dec. 6, the two lives came together in a single, terrifying moment.

Winkler was having a bad day. She was sitting waiting for the 5 Line train at the Bowling Green station just to collect her thoughts when she heard a commotion. She looked up and saw some people standing and looking at something on the tracks.

When she went over to investigate, Winkler looked down and saw a man lying there, not moving.

“I said, ‘Get up! Get up! Get up!’” Winkler said.

At only 5-foot-2, Winkler knew she was not big enough to lift the man. But Samuel, also at the scene at the time, jumped into action.

“It was a split-second decision,” he said.

But upon jumping onto the tracks to help, Samuel tripped and fell backwards.

“At that point, I felt pretty frightened, looking at the train lights coming,” Samuel said.

He struggled to his feet and pushed the man toward the platform as the train was bearing down on them all.

“I had an image – a quick image – instead of your life flashing right by you, I had the image that, in the position I was in with my legs dangling and my torso up, I had the image that the train would actually tear off my legs,” Samuel said.

Samuel had the man at the platform but couldn’t pull himself up. That was when Winkler took over.

“I just pulled so hard because I saw the red light of the train, and I was like, I have to get them, and both, in full pieces,” she said.

And she succeeded in pulling both men to safety.

“I think the train rolled in about 30 seconds after I was on the platform,” Samuel said.

“For some reason, I had the strength to pull them both,” Winkler said. “I don’t know how this happened, but you know, I just had to be strong.”

With both men safe, they all boarded the very train that almost killed them, and went about their lives, not thinking of themselves as heroes.

“Everybody should do what I just did, you know?” Winkler said. “For me, that wasn’t heroism. That was just humanity; decency.”

The man who originally fell on the tracks, identified in published reports as Jack Simmons, 64, did not attend the event Tuesday.

Winkler and Samuel never said a word to each other after the near tragedy until they met Tuesday. Their first words to each other were, “Thank you.”

The heroic action happened just three days after Ki-Suck Han was shoved onto the subway tracks from a platform in Midtown, only to be struck and killed by an oncoming Q train. The man accused of shoving Han – Naeem Davis, 30 – stands charged with second-degree intentional murder and second-degree depraved indifference murder.

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