ALBANY – The state Senate today passed a resolution bestowing its Liberty Medal, the upper house’s highest honor, on John D. Heller, the former Oneonta firefighter who saved five lives before dying in a Dec. 29 arson at 5 Walling Ave.
State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, who introduced the resolution, noted it is given for “meritorious action against hostile odds.”
“John Heller was that type of individual,” he said. “John displayed great courage in saving the lives of his fiancé and four young nephews, and he made the ultimate sacrifice. His final act on earth was one of bravery, valor, heroism, and love for others.”
Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the Liberty Medal is bestowed upon individuals for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.
Senator Seward previously presented the Liberty Medal to John Heller’s parents John and Gayle Heller and fiancé Amber Roe during a memorial service Jan. 4 in Oneonta.