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Petty Officer Charles Barlow

charles barlow ct heroes

Sponsor: Webster Bank

On November 4 of last year, Petty Officer Charles Barlow was driving along Route 164 in Preston, Connecticut, when he encountered a passenger bus in distress. Smoke was pouring from the rear of the bus as it came to a stop on the side of the road. Barlow pulled to the shoulder behind the bus and turned on his car’s emergency flashers. He told a reporter from The Dolphin that, when he saw the smoke, “I knew I had to be that ‘someone who should do something.’ Thanks to my Navy training, I knew what to do and was confident I could handle what was coming.”

Barlow approached the bus and spoke to the driver. He confirmed the bus was on fire. He used his cell phone to call 911, and then he boarded the bus and organized the evacuation of the 40 passengers on board, leading them quickly to safety. Barlow then returned to the vehicle and, using a fire extinguisher retrieved from his own car, extinguished the blaze in the engine compartment at the rear of the bus. Barlow remained at the vehicle, keeping watch for a re-ignition of the fire until local police arrived and took over the scene.

Captain David Roberts, Commanding Officer at the Naval Submarine School in Groton, nominated Barlow for this award. He praised Barlow’s quick action and “display of outstanding situational awareness and calm resolve.”

In his nomination, Roberts wrote, “The Navy promotes and lives by the ethos of Honor, Courage and Commitment. On November 4, 2012, Petty Officer Barlow proved they are not mere words by selflessly putting himself in harm’s way to aid a passenger bus on fire.”

“Like the American Red Cross,” Roberts said, “the Navy is committed to humanitarian missions. Petty Officer Barlow is on the same page as the American Red Cross and the Navy and is much deserving” of this award.

Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Bradovich

Petty Officer 1st Class Jared Bradovich

Sponsor: O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.

On November 2, 2012, Petty Officer Jared Bradovich, serving on the submarine USS Annapolis, saved the life of a civilian employee performing maintenance on the boat at General Dynamics Electric Boat.

Bradovich was among the first people to respond to a worker who collapsed on the walkway to the submarine when the sub’s emergency medical team was summoned. The boat’s emergency medical assistance team was on a barge near the sub and not on the sub itself, reported Jennifer McDermott in an article in The Day.

Bradovich, below deck, grabbed an emergency medical kit and responded to the scene, where, in an account from, Lieutenant Commander Andre Lester, the executive Officer of the USS Annapolis, said Bradovich “took charge, which I have seen him do countless times aboard Annapolis.” Lester added, “he made the ship proud and definitely rose to the occasion.”

Bradovich told The Day newspaper that he learned CPR on his first submarine and received a refresher course when he reported to the Annapolis. He noted that nearly all the sailors aboard the Annapolis know CPR because at sea, “it’s just us. We do a lot of training like that because you never know when you’re going to have to respond or who will have to respond.”

When he arrived at the scene and found the victim unresponsive, he used supplies from the emergency kit and began CPR and rescue breathing. Bradovich and another sailor administered CPR for approximately five minutes until Electric Boat’s fire department arrived on scene and transported the victim to the hospital. The worker had suffered multiple heart attacks. Lester told a reporter at the time that hospital staff said that if it had not been for the quick response by Bradovich and others, the worker would probably have died.

Lieutenant Commander Jennifer Cragg, who nominated Bradovich, said, “It’s not every day in one’s life that you have the opportunity to bring life back to someone.” She said, “In the U.S. Navy we recognize the importance of bystander intervention, which is a key concept that we train on often. (Petty Officer) Bradovich’s actions further reinforce that we really can make a difference when we engage.”

First Class Micah Welintukonis

Sergeant First Class Micah Welintukonis

Sponsor: Wells Fargo

Sergeant First Class Micah Welintukonis of Coventry was a volunteer EMT at the Somers Fire Department before deploying to Afghanistan in 2012.

He was no stranger to dangerous deployments. Having served in the Army since 1994 and transferring to the Army National Guard in 2001 and the Army Reserve in 2007, Micah has deployed to Kosovo in 1999, to Iraq in 2004 and most recently to Afghanistan in 2012.

Micah had been serving as medic for a police mentoring team in Afghanistan for about three months when their patrol base in Kandahar City came under attack. “The enemy breached the side wall of the compound and entered, firing small arms and detonating explosives along the way,” SFC Michael Levasseur said. Levasseur reports that Micah rescued two wounded soldiers before returning fire. “He eliminated two enemy fighters before a third detonated a suicide vest.” Micah sustained severe injuries to his arm, abdomen and head. Micah continued to work after he was hit, providing medical aid to wounded comrades.

Micah spent nearly two months recuperating and underwent 10 surgeries to repair damage caused by his wounds.

Micah was nominated by sixth graders at Mabelle B. Avery Middle School in Somers. The students are part of a community service group that undertook a project this year to “Help A Hero.” The group raised more than $4,000 dollars to support Micah Welintukonis and his family while he recuperates.

The students made individual statements in nominating Micah. Among them:

“He put others before his own safety.”

“He is very special because it must have been very scary and he was able to save lives while being shot at.”

SFC Levasseur, who served with Micah in Iraq, said that, on six different occasions, Micah “deliberately left a place of relative safety to rescue those who were exposed to enemy fire… were it not for his action, I am certain I would not be typing this nomination.” He closed by saying Micah, “has always paced the needs of others above his own and his dedication is unparalleled.”

Asked how he felt about his nomination as a hero, Micah replied that there are “plenty of other individuals who deserve this award. Take a walk on [Walter Reed Hospital’s] fourth floor or the critical care unit.”