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National Guard Members Recognized For Blizzard Heroics

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HANSCOM AFB (CBS) – Seven members of the Massachusetts National Guard received awards Sunday for heroic actions during the February blizzard.

Some 1,400 soldiers were activated during the storm that dumped more than two feet of snow on the Bay State. The units assisted cities and towns with Emergency Medical Services, delivered cots to shelters, plowed roads and cleared downed trees.

“They’re the same as you and I in the community, but then when the challenges come in front of them, to see what they do, it’s amazing,” said Maj. Gen. L Scott Rice during a ceremony at Hanscom Air Force Base.

Rice presented Army Achievement Medals to four soldiers of the 181st Infantry Regiment for assisting Worcester EMTs in the delivery of a baby during the blizzard. Those soldiers were Sgt.  Kenneth J. Hickey of Wakefield, Spc. Joshua M. Catalano of Blackstone, Spc.  Derek J. Demelo of New Bedford, and Spc.  Shawn J. Thebado of Oxford.

“Who knows what would have happened [without the National Guard],” said Ericka Bueno, who gave birth to her daughter Nohely at home when the roads were impassable. “They definitely saved our lives that day.”

Army Commendation Medals were awarded to three others. From the 772 Military Police Company, Spc. Joseph M. Pollini of Rockland and Pvt. Austen J. Leavitt of Mansfield were recognized for helping a 5-year-old boy get to the hospital after he swallowed pieces of glass at his home in Brookline.

A member of the 1058 Transportation Company, Spc. Jessica Pedraza of Rockland, is credited with rescuing a Scituate man who had a seizure during the storm.

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