When a rookie transit worker on the tracks of Harlem’s 145th St. station came in contact with an electrified third rail last month, her co-workers feared the worst.

It’s an accident few transit workers survive.

But David Martinez, a signal maintainer working on the crew that day, made sure that the third rail wouldn’t claim the life of another colleague.

Seeing signs of life coming from the badly burned body of Monique Brathwaite, he flipped her onto her back and started doing chest compressions.

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It helped save her life.

The Daily News, in partnership with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Transport Workers Union Local 100, is launching the fifth annual Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards to honor workers like Martinez, who act fast and without regard to their own safety when a colleague or a passenger is in danger.

But these selfless acts of heroism go unnoticed all too often. That’s why The Daily News is asking its readers to nominate the exemplary transit workers who make travel safe for millions of passengers crisscrossing the city each day.

“Mass transportation is one of the great miracles of New York. The subways and buses carry more than 2.5 billion riders every year, seven days a week, 24 hours a day,” said Daily News Editor-in-Chief Arthur Browne.

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“The 38,000 men and women of New York City Transit are true miracle workers whose work and dedication demand high recognition.”

The Daily News, in partnership with the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100, is launching the fifth annual Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards.

The Daily News, in partnership with the MTA and Transport Workers Union Local 100, is launching the fifth annual Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards.

(New York Daily News)

The News is looking for the men and women who are fearless, selfless and dedicated while they’re on the job.

These are the bus drivers who keep riders calm and safe when trouble steps on board, track workers who risk life and limb when a colleague is in harm’s way, and station workers always on the lookout for anything that can disrupt commutes.

And they do it all in a hazardous work environment that has tragically claimed the lives of transit workers, including Louis Gray, who was killed this month by an oncoming G train while setting up a work zone in a Brooklyn subway tunnel.

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“I’m just as enthusiastic about the Hometown Heroes in Transit Awards as I was in 2012 when the New York Daily News and my administration teamed up to launch the program,” TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen said.

“The public, and some elected officials, don’t fully understand how difficult and dangerous it is to be a transit worker. We work in dark subway tunnels under live train traffic. We work alongside third rails carrying 600 volts of electricity. We work alone on bus routes where lunatics and criminals assault us.

“We’ve had 13 transit workers killed in the line of duty in the last 15 years, including two who were flat-out murdered. Hometown Heroes gives transit workers a much appreciated and well-deserved boost.”

MTA Chair and CEO Thomas Prendergast said he was grateful for the opportunity to recognize the importance of their work and thank thousands of riders on their behalf.

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“New York City wouldn’t be what it is without its public transportation system. And our transit system couldn’t be what it is without our transit workers,” Prendergast said.

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Monique Brathwaite, 35, a rookie with the MTA, tripped onto the third rail on Friday and lived to tell about her experience thanks to a David Martinez.

(Edgar Sandoval/New York Daily News)

“On the subway trains, the tracks and the platforms, behind the steering wheels of our buses and on the streets, they are on the job around the clock so that New Yorkers can always get where they need to go, reliably and safely. We are grateful for their hard work and dedication.”

Nominations for transit workers will be open through Jan. 6. The winners will be honored at a reception in early March.


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Daily News readers can nominate the transit worker in their lives by email, mail or fax. Here’s how to nominate a Hometown Hero in Transit:

Email: hometownheroestransit@nydailynews.com

Mail: P.O. Box 5040, Bowling Green, NY 10274

Fax: 212-643-7831

New York Daily News ‘Hometown Heroes in Transit’ rules

Please include a brief description or story about why he or she deserves to be honored with a Hometown Hero award, as well as the transit worker’s name and title. If submitting a nomination, please provide your own contact information.

Official rules are online at nydn.us/Heroes

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