Back in October, a van rolled off a ferry in Cape Vincent. At the same time, the ferry owner and operator began suffering a heart attack. The runaway ferry was in danger of crashing into the shore line with passengers on board. The man who literally saved the day and helped save a life is one of 15 people the Northern New York Red Cross honored Wednesday, a group that our Brian Dwyer reports are all heroes in their own way.
WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- Ron Jacobs says that day in October was almost surreal.
"We understood there was an issue," He said. "When we got out to the sea, we could see that the ferry was disabled and drifting down river."
The Cape Vincent Ferry takes cars back and forth from Cape Vincent to Wolfe Island in Canada. But on October 16th, a van rolled off it with passengers on board.
Ron Jacobs was one of the first responders. He took out a rescue boat to get it back to shore. When he arrived, he got word the operator and ferry owner George Horne was having a heart attack, leaving no one controlling the ferry.
"Now I'm pushing a ferry that's completely out of control. I'm not tied to it, I'm just pushing it. I managed to get it pinned to the dock," Jacobs said.
Most importantly, his quick work got George Horne to the right people.
"Fortunately we were able to put EMTs on board and render CPR, first aid, defibrillation and he's alive today," He said.
Jacobs was just one of 15 people honored Wednesday for their heroic actions. After a 10 year absence, the Northern New York Chapter of Northern New York is bringing back the Real Heroes award breakfast.
"Anybody that just looks at another individual or animal and says they need help and they help them, that's a hero," NNY Red Cross Chapter Executive Jane Gendron said.
"I appreciate the accolade," Jacobs added. "It was a team effort at the time and a lot of people that could have and maybe should have been recognized."
Each recipient, whether it was Jacobs' story or saving people from a burning building or donating organs, blood or time, they had the exact same reaction to the award.
"It was very humbling," Award recipient and Watertown Fire Captain Joe Compos said. "I really appreciated it. I don't think it was necessary. We just do what we do. We do our job."
A trait that the Red Cross says makes them all even more so the heroes they're now known as.
During the last fiscal year, just the Northern New York Chapter alone helped 91 families through a disaster and trained more than 14,000 people in various safety and health courses.