State Senator James L. Seward (R/C/I/Ref – Oneonta) today honored John D. Heller of Oneonta posthumously on the floor of the New York State Senate with a special New York State Senate Resolution conferring the state senate’s Liberty Medal, the highest honor bestowed by the New York State Senate.

“The Liberty Medal is conferred on a select few, those who have distinguished themselves by meritorious action against hostile odds. John Heller was that type of individual,” said Senator Seward. “John displayed great courage in saving the lives of his fiancé and four young nephews, and he made the ultimate sacrifice. His final act on earth was one of bravery, valor, heroism, and love for others.”

The New York State Senate Liberty Medal is the highest honor an individual can receive from the state senate. Similar to the national Congressional Gold Medal, the award is bestowed upon individuals who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.

“John’s heroic efforts embodied the values and spirit of the prestigious senate Liberty Medal. I am honored to take a moment to remember John Heller and ensure his heroism will be a permanent part of the senate record and New York State history,” concluded Seward.

Senator Seward previously presented the Liberty Medal to John Heller’s parents John and Gayle Heller and fiancé Amber Roe during a memorial service in Oneonta on January 4, 2019.

Complete text of the resolution is available at: