As Hurricane Sandy hit Manhattan with severe wind and rain many New Yorkers opted to stay in the relative calm of their homes – Not however, our Dreadnought of the day, Jon Candelaria.
Jon, 25, who works in accunting was in his apartment near the East River when he spotted a man trapped in a taxi. With the water getting increasingly higher he realized the cabbie was in severe danger. Candelaria, dressed in basketball shorts, threw on a jacket and proceeded to rush down and help.
“It was so dangerous but it didn’t matter to me,” he told ABC News. “All that mattered was, not even my own life, but just getting this guy out of the car and saving his life. That’s all that mattered.”
“When I got down there and I started walking through the river, then it hit me. I could pretty much die right now,” he said. “I thought about my daughter and I told myself, if anything was to happen to me, I know my family could take care of her. I know that for a fact.”
Our Dreadnought got to the freezing water and could see the rab rocking. Knowing he could be electrocuted any second, Jon pushed these thoughts aside and managed to finally make it to the cab. By this time the water had got up to Jon’s chest.
“I’m glad I got there on time. I guess five more minutes and he would’ve been drowning,” he said – “I put him on my shoulder. I was like, ‘Please don’t panic, don’t freak out. The water is very high. ‘And he was like, ‘All right’”
Candelaria said he struggled to carry the man in the flood, his energy draining.
“But I was like, ‘I can’t stop in the middle of the water. What am I going to do? We could both die,’” he recalled. “So I just kept going with everything I had. Kept pushing. Every little energy, every little strength I had. I just kept going.”
Candelaria’s neighbor Rita Callahan saw the rescue.
“I live on the fifth floor. He lives on seven and he beat me,” she said. “He was out there and he just did it. That’s a hero. A hero doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about helping people.”
When they made it back, the two men took a moment to pose for a photo together before going their separate ways. Candelaria said he does not even know the taxi driver’s name.
“I wasn’t trying to be a hero,” he said. “I just couldn’t watch a man die in front of me. I wouldn’t be able to live with myself for the rest of my life, knowing I could’ve done something and I didn’t do it…For me that was my life-changing event. I had two so far — watching my daughter come into this world and saving a man’s life.”
Jon Cadelaria we salute you – Fear Nothing!
To find out more about Jon and his remarkable tale, visit here.