Ogdensburg resident honored for rescuing mom and small children from house fire
Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 5:38 pm

From left are City Councilors Storm Cilley, Dan Skamperle, Bill Hosmer, State Senator Patty Ritchie, Jefferson Thornton, Ogdensburg Mayor William Nelson, City Councilors Jennifer Stevenson, Mike Morley and Wayne Ashley.

OGDENSBURG -- Ogdensburg resident Jefferson Thornton was honored Monday night for rescuing a mother and her two young children from a house fire earlier this month.

Thornton, a former city firefighter, was awarded the prestigious Liberty Medal at Monday night’s City Council meeting, by State Sen. Patty Ritchie. He was also recognized by the City of Ogdensburg.

Earlier this month, Thornton awoke in the middle of the night to find the nearby home of Brandy Middlemiss in flames.

Mr. Thornton then walked across the street to alert Brandy and her two children—ages 3 and 5.

The family was sleeping when Thornton arrived. He was able to deliver them to safety without any injuries.

“If it weren’t for Mr. Thornton’s bravery and experience, the ending of this story could have been very different,” Ritchie said. “Mr. Thornton essentially put his life on the line, and in the end, saved three people from what could have been a complete disaster.”

“The Liberty Medal represents heroism, and I can’t think of a more deserving recipient than Thornton.

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is one of the highest civilian honors that a New Yorker can receive.

Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the award is given to individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.