Knicks to Honor Sandy Heroes with "City Spirit" Award

Jon Candelaria, Dr. Pradeep Mally, Gail Geraghty and Erica Chong

Aided Those Affected By Hurricane Sandy


New York, NY (November 9, 2012) - The New York Knickerbockers have announced that Jon Candelaria of Manhattan, and Dr. Pradeep Mally, Gail Geraghty and Erica Chong of NYU Langone Medical Center, a Garden of Dreams partner organization, are the recipients of the Sweetwater Clifton "City Spirit" Award for the month of November for their assistance in serving those whose lives were in jeopardy due to Hurricane Sandy. The award, named in honor of Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton, the first African-American to play for the Knicks, recognizes individuals who have made a significant difference in the lives of others. Each month, winners are chosen by members of the Knicks front office staff and honored at center court during a Knicks game with a $2,000 donation in their names made out to a charity of their choice.

At the peak of Sandy, 25-year-old Jon Candelaria was settling in for the night in his Upper East Side apartment when he noticed an occupied cab stalled on the FDR Drive, a highway that was closed due to harsh conditions. As flood waters stared to rise and submerge the cab, Jon sprang into action, running down five flights of stairs, battling chest high currants, wind and rain to get to the trapped taxi driver. Upon arrival, Jon noticed that the water was nearing the driver's face, threatening to drown the man trapped inside. After several unsuccessful attempts, with the water pressure building, Jon commissioned the help of the driver one last time to open the door just as the wind momentarily subsided. Jon carried the man to safely, but never got his name. Jon contends that he would do it again and for anyone he felt was in danger.

Just three miles down the road, NYU Langone Medical Center was enduring its own problems caused by Sandy. The facility lost power due to flooding in the basement and on lower levels, and within two hours was operating on 10 percent of power, forcing the facility to evacuate and endangering the lives of infants in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). Several employees where on site to facilitate the tedious process of getting everyone to safety including Pradeep Mally, MD, Gail Geraghty and Erica Chong. Dr. Mally, a pediatrician and neurologist was responsible for medical care in the neonatal ICU that night. Gail Geraghty, a native of Staten Island, is the Pediatric Nurse Manager who supervised the nurses in the ICU. Erica Chong, a respiratory therapist who oversaw the neonatal ventilators during the power outage, ensured that ventilators were equipped to last during the transition out of the hospital. All were instrumental in making sure the babies made it to safety, even assisting with carrying the premature babies down the nine flights of stairs in the dark to safety.

Tonight, when the Knicks host the Dallas Mavericks, Jon Candelaria, Dr. Pradeep Mally, Gail Geraghty and Erica Chong will accept the Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award presented by Knicks Legend John Starks at Madison Square Garden.

To nominate your hero, or to read more about this month's winners and other past winners, please visit

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