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Steven St. Bernard, Coney Island Hero, facing money troubles

Man who saved child's life: I'm struggling to keep my apartment after injury

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An off-duty bus driver who injured his arm saving a young Coney Island girl from a three-story fall says the Metropolitan Transportation Authority nearly derailed his health insurance, leaving him scrambling to provide for his family on measly disability payments.

Steven St. Bernard, who lives in the Coney Island Houses between the Boardwalk and Surf Avenue, says he was in jeopardy of losing his benefits because he was off the clock when he rescued 7-year-old Keyla McCree after she fell from a window last month at the same housing complex — a good deed he says that left him with a shredded arm tendon requiring extensive medical procedures, including drilling into the bone of his forearm and installing metal supports.

“I didn’t realize I’d lose my benefits when my sick days ran out,” said St. Bernard, adding that his arm is still in a sling, and that he still can’t move his wrist, although he recently began to get feeling back in his fingers.

Friends told St. Bernard early on that he should make sure that his MTA benefits wouldn’t expire while he healed.

“I told him, you’ve got to get on this stuff before it’s too late,” said Coney Island activist Todd Dobrin. “It would be a shame if he lost his way of providing for himself and his family as a result of such an unselfish act.”

The Johnny-on-the-spot bus driver received some relief when state Sen. Diane Savino (D–Coney Island) hammered out an agreement with the MTA so St. Bernard could keep his benefits. Savino said she was also trying to reach an agreement with the Housing Authority to get the man’s rent lowered until he can return to work again.

MTA officials say St. Bernard’s benefits will never expire.

“Steve St. Bernard is a hero and the MTA has always treated him as one,” MTA head spokesman Adam Lisberg, who said that the Authority has been in constant contact with St. Bernard since his heroic act. “He has never lost his health benefits and if we have anything to say about it we never will.”

Yet St. Bernard, says he isn’t out of the woods yet: he claims the $1,400 disability payment he receives barely covers his rent.

“I said, my rent is $1,200 a month, so what am I to do?” said the good Samaritan, who remains humble about his heroics.

“I was in the right place in the right time with a child who needed help,” he said.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at wbredderman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/WillBredderman

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Reader Feedback

judah spechal from bed-stuy says:
sometimes I wonder what zaps humanity from people. I'd like to believe he'd do it again as would anyone knowing this negative turn in this story. Why the good deed doesn't continue to the end of the story is just deflating
Sept. 5, 2012, 10:36 am
chas b from westchester says:
Someone should help this guy out just like he hleped the little girl. I'm sure he didn't stop to think about health coverage if he got hurt before helping her.

Ther is no compassion left in the world. Ter should be a good samaritan clause in helath care coverage applicable to stuff like this.
Sept. 5, 2012, 6:33 pm
Sam from Florida says:
Is there any way that someone can set up an account people could donate to? I know people are looking for one: http://www.reddit.com/r/AskReddit/comments/zfe5c/hey_reddit_this_nyc_bus_driver_caught_a_7_year/

Please follow up via this link or a reddit post. This community is awesome for this stuff...
Sept. 6, 2012, 1:07 am
Redditor from Seattle says:
I would love to help this guy out. Upvoting donation account idea. Send that back to the front page when there is one.
Sept. 6, 2012, 1:35 am
Ginna from NYC says:
Bullied Granny on the bus got 6-figure donations. Shouldn't this selfless hero get likewise?
Sept. 6, 2012, 9:38 am
Flyer from illidelph says:
http://www.indiegogo.com/helpStevenStBernard
Sept. 6, 2012, 5:18 pm
Flyer says:
http://www[DOT]indiegogo[DOT]com/helpStevenStBernard/

indiegogo to help him out.
Sept. 6, 2012, 5:19 pm
Tony from Cambria Heights says:
I can tell you that the disability payments are a UNION issue, and not controlled by the MTA. The Union contracts the carrier of the disability insurance. As an employee, I really don't like rushing to the MTA's defense, but the MTA has nothing to do with this. It's the TWU's issue.
Sept. 6, 2012, 6:26 pm
C. Brooks from Meadow Winds says:
Tony from Cambria Heights and Shanquisha Jones should hook up. Slimeballs belong with each other.
Sept. 7, 2012, 9:10 pm
mary from brooklyn says:
hi Steve it is Mary from police Acadmey how are you just want to say hello
July 8, 2013, 11:52 am
mary from brooklyn says:
anytime you need someone to talk to my yahoo is mfinkleay@yahoo.com
July 8, 2013, 11:56 am
mary from brooklyn says:
anytime you need someone to talk to my yahoo is mfinkleay@yahoo.com
July 8, 2013, 11:56 am

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