Date: Feb 06, 2013
Press Release Number: 14-2013
Four Port Authority Tunnel and Bridge Agents, who respond to emergencies at the agency’s bistate crossings, were honored today by the Port Authority Board of Commissioners for their swift actions in helping to bring a new life into the world.
The employees – George McCann, Jean Bernard, Norman Williams and Paul Lizzotte – helped a New Jersey mom deliver a healthy baby boy just outside the Holland Tunnel after the woman went into labor while her husband drove through the crossing.
“I commend our employees for their swift and decisive action which was critical to the safe delivery of this newborn boy,” said Port Authority Chairman David Samson. “Their actions exemplify the professionalism and dedication Port Authority employees bring to their jobs and the public they serve every day.”
“These four employees went above and beyond their normal duties to respond to a customer in need, which is the type of public service we expect from all of our staff who are out on the front lines,” said Port Authority Vice Chairman Scott Rechler. “These four employees deserve our heartfelt thanks for a job well done.”
At about 6:45 a.m. on December 26, the baby’s father, Abdel Elkarhat, was driving his wife, Soukaina Nekhlaoui to Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn when she went into labor. After reaching the mouth of the tunnel on the New York side, Mr. Elkarhat stopped his car and told Tunnel and Bridge Agent Norman Williams that his wife was delivering a baby.
Mr. Williams notified the Holland Tunnel communications desk and fellow tunnel agents George McCann and Jean Bernard responded. Mr. McCann immediately called for additional help and an ambulance and then began to assist with the birth of the child. Tunnel agent Paul Lizzotte used his vehicle to provide protection and shield Mr. Elkarhat’s car from oncoming traffic.
Once the baby was born, Mr. McCann covered the newborn with a blanket and placed him on his mother’s chest for warmth. He then joined fellow tunnel agent Jean Bernard to form a makeshift tent using a blanket and opened up an oxygen cylinder to provide sufficient oxygen to the child until New York City paramedics arrived on the scene. The newborn, Nassim Mohammed Elkarhat, was transported to New York Downtown Hospital.
CONTACT: Port Authority of New York and New Jersey
Founded in 1921, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey builds, operates, and maintains many of the most important transportation and trade infrastructure assets in the country. The agency’s network of aviation, ground, rail, and seaport facilities is among the busiest in the country, supports more than 550,000 regional jobs, and generates more than $23 billion in annual wages and $80 billion in annual economic activity. The Port Authority also owns and manages the 16-acre World Trade Center site, where construction crews are building the iconic One World Trade Center, which is now the tallest skyscraper in New York. The Port Authority receives no tax revenue from either the state of New York or New Jersey or from the City of New York. The agency relies on revenues generated by facility users, tolls, fees and rents as well as loans, bond financing, and federal grants to fund its operations. For more information, please visit http://www.panynj.gov.