A man hailed as a hero for breaking into a school to shelter strangers during a deadly winter storm is being rewarded with a trip to the Super Bowl.
Jay Withey, a mechanic, broke into the Pine Hill School in Cheektowaga, N.Y., during blizzard conditions on Christmas Eve. He broke into the building after he said he was turned away at a number of homes where he asked for shelter from the storm.
Withey used a rock to break into the school and then helped others to shelter inside and protect themselves from the bitter cold and snowy conditions. The Cheektowaga Police Department shared a photo of a note that Withey left behind, which said, “To whomever it may concern: I’m terribly sorry about breaking the school window and for breaking in the kitchen. Got stuck at 8 p.m. Friday and slept in my truck with two strangers just trying not to die. There were seven elderly people also stuck and out of fuel. I had to do it to save everyone and get them shelter and food and a bathroom. Merry Christmas, Jay.”
The Buffalo Bills celebrated Withey’s heroism with a gift of two tickets to Super Bowl LVII. In a video posted on Twitter, Bills legend Thurman Thomas and his wife Patti presented Withey with the giant tickets on behalf of the team and Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York.
“It was really special. Both Thurman and I were excited the entire day to go do this,” Patti Thomas told WKBW. “Because we knew the kind of young man that Jay is. Jay’s a local superhero. And he’ll inspire you, you know, his story will inspire other people.”
In the video, Withey can be heard saying that he has been overwhelmed by the response to his actions, saying he has gotten thank you letters from around the world.
Super Bowl LVII will be played on Sunday, Feb. 12, in Glendale, Arizona.
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