Tonawanda 18-year-old receives Liberty Medal from Sen. Chris Jacobs

Cassandra Butzer presented the Liberty Medal by Sen. Chris Jacobs.

CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB)- 18-year-old Cassandra Butzer was awarded the Liberty Medal Wednesday morning at Tonawanda High School by Senator Chris Jacobs.

The recognition comes after a simple drive home May 10, which ended up saving a stranger’s home and possibly his life.

The man Butzer helped was also there to celebrate her bravery.

68-year-old Dennis Alviti’s home on Elmwood Park in the City of the Tonawanda still shows signs of a large blaze on the front porch, but fire investigators said it could have been much worse.

Butzer was driving home from dance class the night of May 10 when she noticed a small plant on fire on Alviti’s porch.

“It got really big and then I pounded on the door and tried to tell him that his house was on fire and then I called 911 and the smoke was all in my face,”Butzer said.

Alviti was then able to get out of his house before the fire spread even further.

“A lot of people would have gone by and assumed the next car would stop. By doing so, she could have saved the whole house,” Alviti said.

“When we see acts like this, in contrast to many of the things we see about our young people, it re-instills faith in our future,” Sen. Jacobs said after presenting Butzer with the award.

The Liberty Medal is the state’s highest civilian honor. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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