Governor Hochul: "I want to tell you how grateful we are for your bravery, your courage, and the fact that you're back here again. We need to get her out to her job because she's got a shift to undertake, but Rosa, from all of us here in the State of New York and the City of New York, you represent the great individuals who are members of TWU, who show up every single day and continue to do your work even in the most adverse circumstances and I, as governor of the State of New York representing over 20 million people, say from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for being there for us and thank you for what you did last night in particular, literally saving the lives of people who if they've been in the streets may not have survived the experience."
Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul recognized essential workers, including bus driver Rosa Amonte, at the Fresh Pond Bus Depot in Queens for their heroic service in the aftermath of historic flooding caused by the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
VIDEO is available on YouTube here.
PHOTOS available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor's and Rosa's remarks is available below:
Governor Hochul: This is one of many stops we've been conducting to survey the damage and to find out how we can be helpful to people in various communities and I'm here at the Fresh Pond Depot because an extraordinary person is standing here with me, an individual who represents New York's greatest individuals, the people who you don't see every day but they're out there making sure we get where we have to go, home to our families, getting to our jobs, and these are our transit workers. These are our bus drivers. These are people who run the subways. I know we all call everybody heroes, but to me you are God's gift to all of us, the work that you do, and I want to thank the transit workers. There's 145,000 members overall, 41,000 members of TWU100. Their leadership is extraordinary and I want to thank all of them for being there in some of our darkest hours, going to your jobs, not forgetting your responsibilities and taking care of other people when it's a lot easier for you to be home in the safety of your own family and making sure they're okay.
So I want to acknowledge, Grace Meng was going to join us. I think a lot of people are still stuck in traffic because the roads are not perfect yet, but she and also Donovan Richards may maybe joining us, but Senator Joe Addabbo has joined us.
There's someone here, Janno Lieber, we've been at events all morning surveying the damage.
We just came in from Great Neck to see what's happening on the tracks there with the LIRR. We are over in another part of Queens earlier today to talk about the devastation in one community there. There was a loss of life. So I'm just beginning my in-person tours and I want to remind everybody that this situation is still unfolding.
We don't have all the damage assessments, but President Biden and I spoke just a few hours ago. He has promised his full support. He said, Kathy, tell me what you need and we'll get it done. So that gives me great assurance.
But today we're going to not talk about the larger picture at this particular event. I want to celebrate one individual. An individual who did not intend to be an overnight viral sensation, but I'm sure your three daughters and grandkids think that you're pretty cool right now. And that is someone whose name is Rosa Amonte. Rosa did something that is absolutely, unbelievably heroic. During the depths of our greatest time last night, when it was scary, you saw the images, if you were living at your house. People are literally driving down rivers. Many vehicles were abandoned. People fled for their lives, but people still needed to get where they had to go and get to the safety of their homes.
And how do they get there? When the subways are shut down, it was the bus drivers, the bus operators who never left their posts.
They sat there, they welcomed riders in, they took care of them. They gave them the assurance that I'm going to take care of you and I'm going to protect you. I'm going to get you where you're going. And I want everyone who's not seen this video to watch this and that will deepen your appreciation for people like Rosa Amonte, for what she did.
She drove passengers through three to four feet of water. I watched that video. The water was not on the street. The water was in the vehicle. The water was in the bus. People are literally standing on their seats to make sure that they did not drown inside a bus. Can you imagine the terror that people experienced in that moment? But she didn't pull over and say, I'm out of here, I'm going home. She stood there. She drove, she went through the night and did what it took to get people there safely.
So I want to tell you how grateful we are for your bravery, your courage, and the fact that you're back here again. We need to get her out to her job because she's got a shift to undertake, but Rosa, from all of us here in the State of New York and the City of New York, you represent the great individuals who are members of TWU, who show up every single day and continue to do your work even in the most adverse circumstances and I, as governor of the State of New York representing over 20 million people, say from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for being there for us and thank you for what you did last night in particular, literally saving the lives of people who if they've been in the streets may not have survived the experience.
So Rosa, come on up and say hello for a couple moments. I want to thank you for what you did. Let's give a round of applause.
Rosa Amonte: Hello, good afternoon. My name is Rosa Amonte. I worked in transit for eight years. I represent all my coworkers and not only me, just everybody was outside with that water that was flowing. The only thing in that moment was to take passengers to a safe place. I don't even see the water in my bus. I don't even see the people over their seat. My only thing, I just think I'm going to go throw this water. I'm going to take my passengers to the other side. And this is the only thing. Everybody is a hero here. All my coworkers are heroes here because we are doing every day for the community, to the people, we're just happy to serve. Right? Thank you.
Governor Hochul: That was beautiful. Thank you.