Standing tall on the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House the recipients of awards and medals signifying bravery gathered to display their honors to their families, fellow police officers and state troopers.
The awards and medals were given out at a ceremony on behalf of the Massachusetts State Police.
A huge round of applause erupted from the crowd Friday morning to show their appreciation for the heroic acts demonstrated by the honorees who humbly said they were only doing the right thing.
“I just did what I was trained to do and it’s nothing extra,” said Trooper David Fleming Jr. who received the Lifesaving Award for resuscitating a nine-year-old girl with help from fellow honoree Brendan Donahue of the .
“There was no thinking whatsoever. I just did what I had to do,” explained Fleming when he responded to the call.
Many of the honorees said that they just took action in a crisis situation.
Stoneham resident Robert Casey was jogging with his dog through when he heard a women scream. Reacting to the screams he ran toward them and saw a woman being pulled into the woods by a man. He helped the woman escape her attacker and assisted the woman until police arrived.
“I remember running after the kid, but the adrenaline was going,” Casey said.
“I was just glad I was there and now the guy is sitting in jail.”
Casey was given a Distinguished Service Award for his actions and said the ceremony was a great experience.
Karen Wells, undersecretary at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, said, “The people who work in [public safety] are people naturally born to help others.”
“The awards ceremony really reflects the commitment these people have to their profession, and to see the civilians come out, to step up and put their lives on the line is very gratifying," she added.
Wells, who assisted in leading the ceremony, said it was a privilege to honor the award recipients for their acts of lifesaving and was struck by each recipient's ability to take decisive action to save the life of another.
Colonel Marian McGovern, superintendent of the Massachusetts State Police, gave the welcoming remarks. McGovern said how proud she was of the families of the recipients and the challenges they face with a loved one in law enforcement.
Though happy to receive the award, Fleming called the honor unnecessary and deemed what he did was just another day.
The consensus among the honorees reflected those of Fleming. That even though they were being awarded for their extraordinary acts of bravery, they would all do it again without thinking twice, because that is who they are.
List of Recipients
- Distinguished Service Award: Robert J. Casey
- Medal of Lifesaving: Lieutenant William Gonsalves Jr., Sergeant Douglas W. Lynch, Trooper Allyson M. Powell, Trooper David M. Fleming Jr., Trooper Edward F. Morgan, Trooper Mark D. Cohen, Patrolman Michael Mulligan, Patrolman Brendan Donahue
- Lifesaving Award: Frank Dos Santos, Michael J. Cardoza, Jeremy Correira, Jason Lema, Tony Rodrigues, Tony Arruda, Michael Albert, Robert Flanagan, George Flanagan
- Medal of Merit: Sergeant Michael Fiore, Trooper Shawn Harris, Trooper Robert Gilmore Jr.
- Medal of Valor: Trooper Edward Johnson III, Trooper Barry Shea, Sergeant Thomas Foley, Officer Greg Bowden, Officer Anthony Serra
- Medal of Honor: Trooper Walter Foley