An incredible story came to a close this Monday when two members of the Maine National Guard, Sgt. First Class Joel D. Carver and Sgt. Mark A. Connor, were honored with the Soldier's Medal.
Last March, the two soldiers took a detour from their training mission at Camp Lejune, North Carolina, to rescue two injured and unconscious passengers from a burning car. Before emergency crews could respond to the accident, the guardsmen had pulled the passengers from the overturned car and out to safety.
The Soldier's Medal is our nation's highest non-combat award for valor. According to a statement from the National Guard, "The medal is awarded to any individual whom while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States, performs an act involving personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life while not in conflict with an armed enemy."
Sergeants Carver and Connor risked their lives to protect two strangers, but to them it was all part of their job. As Sgt. Connor puts it, his heroism is just "what anybody would do" in their situation. In fact, the soldiers said that receiving so much attention for their act was "overwhelming and humbling."
But, these guardsmen are simply not like anybody else. The story of Sergeants Carver and Connor provides a great example of the continued heroism members of the National Guard bring out of their combat experience and into their everyday lives. The skills and traits they have honed over years of commitment to saving lives and defending our country make them very unique members of civilian society and especially valuable employees.
If you are interested in giving back to those who give so much to our nation, please visit the American Jobs for American Heroes website. Together, we can ensure that our nation's heroes have the opportunities for employment that they deserve.