Everett Sanderson saved Michelle R. DeJesus from being struck by a train, New York, New York, January 16, 1975. At a subway station, Michelle, 4, fell from the platform onto a track on which a 10-car train was approaching at 30 m.p.h. Sanderson, 34, musician, jumped down four feet onto the track and ran toward Michelle. The train entered the station about 240 feet from Michelle; and the motorman applied emergency braking. Sanderson reached Michelle, picked her up, and thrust her into the extended arms of a man on the platform. Attempting to get back up onto the platform himself, Sanderson had difficulty. Persons on the platform grasped him and lifted him from the track. As the train passed, the edge of the first car brushed Sanderson’s shoe.
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Everett Elwood (“Angelo”) Sanderson was awarded the prestigious Carnegie Hero Medal in 1975 for heroically leaping onto the tracks of the New York City subway to rescue a young girl from a quickly approaching train. He was born in Brooklyn, NY on May 2, 1940, and died on February 14, 1993, in Manhattan.
Everett’s father, Everett Sanderson, was a headliner in vaudeville; his mother, Nanon Gardner, was a singer and dancer who performed in the Ziegfeld Follies. From the time he was born, Everett traveled all over the country with his parents and sister Marianne as his parents performed. He went to thirty-two different schools and collected thirty-two report cards! It was not until Everett was 17 that his parents retired from show business.
Everett inherited his father’s talent for music and played classical piano and the saxophone. He also enjoyed playing pool. He was charismatic, had many friends, and had a way of making everyone he met feel important. He was deeply concerned about the welfare of others.
The incident which led to his Carnegie Hero award happened in January 1975. Everett was waiting on a New York City subway platform when he heard screaming and saw that a little girl had fallen onto the tracks. The situation was made even more terrifying by a fast-approaching train. With no regard for his own safety, Everett leapt onto the tracks and hoisted the girl out of harm’s way, barely getting out of danger himself before the train thundered past. The little girl, Michelle DeJesus, was unharmed and was soon reunited with her grateful family. When asked why he risked his own life to save the child, he said “If I didn’t try to save this little girl, I couldn’t live with myself.”
Everett became a local celebrity following his brush with death. In addition to the Carnegie award, he received a lifetime subway pass and appeared on the local CBS TV station’s “Pat Collins Show” with New York Mayor Abe Beame. He was also a guest on the game show “To Tell the Truth” and was featured in a story in Reader’s Digest. And countless letters poured in from children and school teachers thanking him for his heroic actions.
Everett died at the age of 52 of liver disease. He was survived by his former wife, Mary Ann Pantano, his son, Everett Jr., his sister, Marianne Biliski, his nieces Laurie and Denise Biliski, and his nephew John Biliski.
(Provided by Laurie Sanderson, neice)