Recognizing Another Hero

J.D. O’Gara
American Legion Post 47 Awards Medal of Merit to One of Its Own
U.S. Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Mitchell Gannon is joined by his family, members of Holliston American Legion Post 47, and members of Holliston Fire Department, as the Legion awards him the Medal of Merit for his lifesaving action while off duty at Logan Airport. From left, Kriss Westland, Lt. Brian Grace, Joanna Gannon holding Heidi Gannon, Mitchell Gannon holding John Gannon, Stephen Bradford, Walter McGrath, Capt. John E. Gagnon, and Pete Westland.
Issue Date: 
February, 2020
Article Body: 

On January 24th, the Holliston American Legion presented the American Legion Medal of Merit to U.S. Army Reserve 2nd Lt. Mitchell Gannon at the Holliston Fire Department. Gannon, an active member of the Army National Guard, out of C. Co. 3/172nd Infantry (Mountain), a member of Holliston’s Charles F. Duford American Legion Post 47 and a firefighter for Massachusetts Port Authority (Massport) at East Boston’s Logan Airport, saved a man’s life while off duty.
“The Medal of Merit is a medal that comes from the American Legion, presented to someone that has done something special,” says Walter McGrath, Post 47 Adjutant and Finance Officer. “At the 9/11 Awards, we give them to Police and Fire that have been recognized by their Chiefs for outstanding action.”
“This is the first time we’ve awarded it to one of our members,” says Steve Bradford, Post 47 Commander.
Gannon, explains that he was off duty, traveling back to Fort Benning for Infantry Officer School when he “noticed a gentleman looked like he was having a seizure. His wife was worried, and when I checked, he had no pulse, so I went and started CPR, while someone got the AED.” Gannon’s use of CPR and subsequently, the AED, kept the man alive until emergency services could arrive. “It worked out well,” says Gannon. “It doesn’t always work out.”
Bradford commended Gannon on his actions, noting “you most likely saved the man’s life. You continued to provide assistance until Massport Fire Rescue and Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS) arrived and transported patient to the hospital. Your quick decisive actions are a great reflection upon you and all men and women in uniform. The superb manner in which you performed is in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Army and I extend to you, Second Lieutenant Gannon a personal ‘job well done.’”
McGrath then awarded the medal, which Gannon’s wife, Joanna, also a Massport firefighter, his children, Heidi and John, helped affix.
Also in attendance were Gannon’s mother- and father-in-law, Kriss and Pete Westland (also both members of Post 47), and John E. Gagnon (EMT) and Lt. Brian Grace (EMT), of the Holliston Fire Department.