April 22, 2018
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Army Guard soldiers who saved people from burning car to get Soldier’s Medal

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

AUGUSTA, Maine — Two members of the Maine Army National Guard jumped into action in March 2011 when they saw a vehicle roll over and catch fire with people trapped inside.

For their lifesaving actions, Sgt. First Class Joel D. Carver of Clinton and Sgt. Mark A. Connor of Lewiston of the 251st Engineer Company from Norway will be awarded the prestigious Soldier’s Medal on Monday at the State House.

“That does not happen very often — it is the highest noncombat medal a soldier can receive [for an act of valor],” Peter Rogers, spokesman for the Maine Department of Defense, Veterans and Emergency Management, said Friday. “These guys are pretty impressive.”

Carver and Connor stopped on March 26, 2011, when they saw the rollover.

“Smoke was emanating from the engine compartment,” a press release about the awards states. “Even as the car caught fire, both Carver and Connor rescued the driver and passenger and pulled them to safety. In doing so, they risked their own lives to save the lives of others.”

The statement does not list the names of the people the duo are credited with saving or say where the crash occurred.

A Soldier’s Medal can be awarded to any individual who, while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, “performs an act involving personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life while not in conflict with an armed enemy,” the press release states. “The award is equal to the level which would have justified an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross, had the act occurred in combat.”

First lady Ann LePage and Brigadier Gen. James D. Campbell, adjutant general of Maine, are scheduled to attend the medal ceremony scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday in the Hall of Flags.

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