PLYMOUTH – Mr. Brian Sullivan, an ALPF Senior Fellow, received the medal for conspicuous gallantry at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty during state service. Sullivan was recognized this week when the state unveiled a plaque naming all eight recipients of the award at National Guard headquarters at Hanscom Air Force Base.
The Massachusetts National Guard has recognized only eight people with the Medal of Valor for gallantry.
Sullivan, a retired lieutenant colonel with the Guard, was a captain when he helped rescue a trucker from a burning 18-wheeler in 1977.
Only five of the eight recipients are still alive. Sullivan, Roth, and John D’Entremont attended the special ceremony. William Thomas and Thomas Guenette were unable to attend. Ronald Roberts, James Conway and John Kretas have passed.
Sullivan and Thomas were honored for jointly rescuing the trucker in December 1977. Sullivan started compiling a history of the award’s recipients in the 1980s. Life, family commitments and duty requirements sent it to the back burner for nearly 30 years.
He finally assembled a history of the heroic deeds a couple of years ago. By then, the Guard had moved to a more operational era and had begun awarding the Soldier’s Medal for acts of gallantry. The Medal of Valor fell into disuse, but with the plaque now hanging outside Joint Force Headquarters, the recipients and their heroics will be forever honored.
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