New York State Senator Patrick Gallivan presented the NY State Senate Liberty Medal to John Harzynski on Wednesday at the Wyoming County Government Center.
The Cheektowaga man was out delivering papers on the morning of December 11 in Attica when he saw an unmarked police car with flashing lights. Nearby the Wyoming County Sheriff himself was wrestling with a man who had a knife.
Harzynski pulled his car over and pulled the suspect from on top of the Sheriff long enough to make an arrest.
“I’m not really a hero,” Harzynski said. “I was just trying to be helpful. Hopefully anybody would help someone in that situation.This guy’s probably the real hero. He probably does a lot of stuff people probably don’t realize.”
Harzynski even surprised the Sheriff with a football to mark what he called an amazing tackle on the suspect after he became free from struggle. But Sheriff Greg Rudolph is first to admit the struggle was so severe that some parts of it are still a blur.
“I didn’t see him actually get involved. I was on the bottom and the next thing I knew, Mr. Hall was off me and we were able to get him in custody,” Rudolph said. “I definitely appreciate his humbleness, but to me, he’s my hero.”
The Liberty Medal is the highest honor the New York State Legislature can bestow. This was only the third time Senator Patrick Gallivan has handed one out as a State Senator.
“My background in law enforcement as a Trooper and then as Erie County Sheriff, I know that things can turn bad in a hurry and how important it is that citizens are willing to help their fellow man, and when I saw what happened here it’s near and dear to my heart and certainly worthy of recognition,” Gallivan said.
Sheriff Gregory Rudolph said he is still a bit sore from the struggle three weeks ago. The suspect, Lynn Hall remains in jail on $500,000 bail. He us due back in court February 7 on a charge of attempted murder.