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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Local hero

Unable to drive in Buffalo's deadly blizzard, Jay Withey broke in to a school, went back with a snow blower to get other trapped motorists into the warm school, then broke into the cafeteria for food and the nurse's office for blankets. Police say the 27-year-old mechanic saved 24 lives.

The blizzard survivors cleaned up after themselves, police said. They found a note, addressed "to whomever it may concern." (Note the correct use of "whomever.")

"I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window & for breaking in the kitchen … I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter," the note said.

It was signed: "Merry Christmas, Jay."

The survivors hope to get together again for a reunion -- in summer.

121 views3 comments


Steve Sherman
Steve Sherman
Dec 31, 2022

It's kind of amazing that during the Christmas season no one took even 1 of these wanderers in - you know like Away in the Manger

Dec 31, 2022
Replying to


Dec 30, 2022

This is one of my favorite stories from the storm. Two more incredible coincidences from the storm:

1) Jay's father ran snowmobile rescues during the Blizzard of '77.

2) A week before the storm hit, the touring production of Come From Away was in town.

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