Terrence Kelsor knows exactly how long it takes to save a life.
Ten seconds. That’s how long it took Kelsor to drop to the ground, grab a 250-pound man who had fallen onto the subway tracks at the Christopher Street PATH station and bring him safely back to the ledge.
“I counted 10 seconds in my head as I pulled this man up. Immediately after, the train went by,” said Kelsor, 54.
Kelsor, an employee of FJC Security Services, had only been on duty at the PATH station for four months when the incident occurred in early March. Security guards protect PATH stations when Port Authority officials are off duty. Under normal conditions, Kelsor would have radioed police for assistance. But in this case, there was no time to do that: the train would have run over the man before cops could reach the scene.
Kelsor, a longtime Newark, N.J. resident and married father of three, has received various awards and accolades since then, including the key to the city from Mayor Cory Booker. He’s also gotten a permanent position and a raise from his company. But it should come as no surprise that Kelsor, who’s also a Gospel musician, credits a higher power for the positive outcome of the situation.
“I didn’t panic. I was in control. My first thought was, ‘I have to save this man,’” he said. “It was like God just took complete control. He gave me the strength to pull this man off the tracks.”
Drama on the job is nothing new for Kelsor, whose quick thinking has helped others before. Near the beginning of his career in 1985, he was on patrol one night and found a woman who seemed disoriented walking along the side of the road. She had been raped. Kelsor immediately called police and assisted the woman until she could be taken to a hospital. The perpetrator of the crime was later apprehended. Kelsor received an award for his actions from FactFinders, a detective agency.
The memory of what happened that March night in the PATH station, though, stays strongly in his mind. The man he saved, who was heavily intoxicated that night, hasn’t contacted him since. But Kelsor still thinks about him, and says he sometimes goes to the Christopher Street station to reflect on what happened.
“It’s still fresh in my mind. I really didn’t consider myself a hero,” he said. “I just wanted to save a man’s life because I knew what was at stake.”
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