Publication Date

February 2, 2010

Perspectives Section


James CollDwelling as they usually do in dark and dusty archives or hallowed halls of academe, historians are not often linked to deeds of derring-do and bravery. But AHA member James Coll wasrecently in Haiti after the devastating earthquake there, and helped to save at least six lives, it has been reported.

Coll, an adjunct professor of history and social sciences at the Nassau County Community College and the Suffolk County Community College (both in New York State), and who also works as a detective in the New York Police Department’s elite emergency squad, was a part of the 40-member emergency rescue team that went from the NYPD to Haiti after the earthquake. As a member of a special, hand-picked rescue team, Coll helped to search through the rubble, and the team was able to rescue a few of those trapped underneath the dangerous debris.

Facing danger to rescue people is nothing new to Coll. He was in the NYPD team that went to help when the pilot of US Airways Flight 1549 did an emergency landing on the Hudson River on January 15, 2009 (which we mentioned in the September 2009 Members column of Perspectives on History). For that display of bravery and altruism in the line of duty, he was presented with a certificate of honor by New York City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and the CEO of US Airways, Doug Parker.

This post first appeared on AHA Today.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Attribution must provide author name, article title, Perspectives on History, date of publication, and a link to this page. This license applies only to the article, not to text or images used here by permission.