Diocesan News

Subway Hero Wins Medal From Carnegie Fund Commission

Sean Conaboy, a freelance cameraman, said he didn’t think about the danger when he jumped into action on the subway in an act of heroism for which he has received international recognition. (Photo: courtesy of Carnegie Hero Fund Commission)

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — Sean Conaboy, a member of St. Michael’s Parish in Sunset Park, saved a woman from a knife-wielding attacker on a Manhattan subway platform last spring. Now, he has been recognized for his bravery by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission.

The commission announced on Dec. 20, 2021, that Conaboy will be awarded a Carnegie Medal, along with a $5,500 grant. He was named one of 17 winners who will receive the annual tribute.

In July, Conaboy was presented with a medal from Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio at the Diocese of Brooklyn chancery: “It’s a wonderful thing to honor somebody who acted as other people stood by.”

Conaboy, a freelance cameraman, was waiting for a train at the Union Square station on the night of May 19, 2021, when he saw a man stabbing Kelli Daley on the platform. Conaboy jumped on the man and tackled him, thwarting the attack and saving Daley’s life.

“Mr. Conaboy’s selfless and heroic actions in rescuing a woman from an armed attacker serve to remind us all that, contrary to what we so often are led to believe, there remain among us those who value the life of a stranger equally to their own,” said Commission President Eric P. Zahren.

The Carnegie Medal, established by industrialist Andrew Carnegie in 1904, is given to individuals throughout the U.S. and Canada who face danger while saving or attempting to save others. 

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission calls the medal North America’s highest honor for civilian heroism. Over its 117-year history, the commission has awarded a total of $43 million.

Conaboy said he was “completely humbled” by the award and had not expected it. “I didn’t think my actions rose to the level of heroism that the commission looks for,” he said, adding that he has not decided how he will spend the grant money.