By Jessica Easthope
Sean Conaboy doesn’t consider himself a hero, he says his act of bravery wasn’t an act at all – it was instinct.
“I’ve come to the conclusion there was no alternative and I’m glad I didn’t stop to think – because if I had it would have been too late to act,” he said.
Now that instinct is being recognized by Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio and Bishop Kevin Sweeney of Paterson, the priest Conaboy heard preach for years at his home parish, St. Michael’s in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
“As St Francis said we should all preach and only when necessary use words and Sean gave an incredible homily by responding to the need of someone who was being hurt,” said Bishop Sweeney.
Conaboy was presented with a medal, Tuesday, to honor the way he put God’s words into action. Back in May a man with a knife stabbed a woman on a subway platform. Conaboy didn’t just step in – he tackled him and stopped the attacker from going back for more, even though he tried.
“It simply comes from compassion to help another person who at that point is defenseless,” Conaboy said.
The entire incident lasted just 60 seconds. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio says he showed all New Yorkers can be Good Samaritans.
“We can be kind of gruff sometimes as New Yorkers but deep down when people are in need we come to the rescue, I’ve seen the good side we can’t just look at the façade,” Bishop DiMarzio said.
Conaboy’s spent his career behind the camera as news photographer, so the attention he’s garnered from his selfless act is foreign. But he is using his new found platform to offer those on the platform some advice.
“Had I been engrossed in my headphones or phone and responded to a scream it would have been too late, I think people need to be a bit more alert in their daily comings and goings,” said Conaboy.
Thankfully the victim, Kelli Daley has made a full recovery. Reflecting on the attack, Conaboy says moments to put faith into action happen every day – all you have to do is look up.