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Sanders treats Times Square heroes to downtown dinner

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Lance Borden and Dwayne Jackson may not have superhero capes or wear badges, but their quick actions in preventing the Times Square bombing nearly two weeks ago was extraordinary, according to City Councilman James Sanders (D-Laurelton).

To show his appreciation for their efforts that day, Sanders and his staff took the former U.S. Navy sailors out for a dinner Monday night at one of Manhattan’s top restaurants. The councilman, who is on the Council Veterans Committee, said the men and their families deserved to be treated to a full dinner at City Hall Restaurant, where some of the city’s top elected officials head to dine.

Borden and Johnson, who work as street vendors at Times Square, alerted police when they noticed an abandoned Nissan Pathfinder, which had been loaded with a homemade bomb, began smoking May 1.

“They realized they had a real problem and they helped clear the area,” Sanders said.

The Manhattan hot spot was eventually evacuated and the authorities were able to defuse the bombs with no one getting hurt. A suspect, Faisal Shahzad, was arrested last week for allegedly assembling the bomb and driving the car to New York City from Connecticut.

Sanders, who served as a Marine, said the vendors’ training in the armed services came into play during the incident. Although only Borden saw combat during the Vietnam War, both veterans told Sanders their military experience helped them to see that the car posed a serious threat.

“They said it helped them avoid panic. It helped them understand that there was a major situation on foot,” the councilman said.

Despite the danger, both men, who live in Manhattan, went back to work the next day, according to Sanders. The councilman said he was amazed by their humility and grace under pressure.

“They spoke like true heroes in the fact that they said they did not feel like heroes,” he said.

Nevertheless, Sanders went all out for the venders, buying them a dinner that consisted of a steak main course, French fries and red velvet cake.

“They very grateful that we took them out,” he said.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

Updated 5:50 pm, October 10, 2011
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