BOSTON – Nearly 600 public safety and military personal, families and friends attended The Hundred Club of Massachusetts’ annual dinner at the Boston Park Plaza on Wednesday, May 12, 2010.
Ten police officers and firefighters from all branches of the United States Armed Forces were honored for their service to their country and communities. The members have served in Iraq or Afghanistan and have performed above and beyond the call of duty during their tours of duty. These outstanding professionals were recognized as “Heroes Among Us” and received a special award from The Hundred Club.
The following service members were recognized:
Brig. Gen. James E. Keighley, Rhode Island Army National Guard and Fall River Police Department; accompanied by Police Chief Daniel Racine.
Keighley is the commander of the 43rd Military Police Brigade and also serves as the ground component commander for state emergencies. He has completed two tours of duty in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom, and has been awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star Medal for Valor.
Capt. Dean Desautels, United States Army and Rutland Fire Department; accompanied by Fire Chief Thomas Ruchala.
While serving in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Desautels led an immediate reaction force to assist Afghan national police engaged in a heavy firefight with Taliban forces. He coordinated the two-day pursuit and capture of several enemy insurgents. He was awarded the Bronze Star.
Mrs. Patricia West on behalf of her husband, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Scott C. West, Massachusetts Army National Guard and Greenfield Police Department; acompanied by Police Chief David Guilbault.
While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, West was involved in a battle with insurgents that turned into two days of fighting, and resulted in the deaths of more than 100 insurgents that disrupted activities in that region. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for Valor. He is currently at Fort Bragg waiting deployment for another tour of duty. Patricia West is also a Greenfield police officer.
Chief Warrant Officer 3 James L. Bailey, United States Marine Corps and Arlington Fire Department; accompanied by Fire Chief Robert Jefferson.
Bailey served as the platoon commander of a personnel security detail in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He led the detail on more than 150 combat patrols and counter insurgency missions in Iraq. Bailey was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for Valor.
Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey A. Baillargeon, Massachusetts Army National Guard and Westfield Police Department; accompanied by Police Chief John Camerota.
While deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Baillargeon led the ground effort of United States and Afghan forces through an intense four-hour firefight with no loss of life to United States or coalition forces. He independently motivated Afghan coalition forces with little to no interpreter presence into a single organized unit that cleared multiple enemy compounds. Baillargeon was awarded two Bronze Star Medals for Valor.
Sgt. 1st Class Gregory G. Kelly, Massachusetts Army National Guard and Boston Fire Department; accompanied by Fire Chief Ron Keating.
Kelly received an award, but asked that the details of his work overseas not be made public.
1st Sgt. Class Jason Ford, United States Army and Brockton Police Department; accompanied by Police Chief William Conlon.
While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Ford was on a mission to secure an Iraqi city and was wounded when an improvised explosive device went off next to his vehicle. As the leader, and only American on the mission, Ford continued to lead 25 Iraqi soldiers in small arms battle with insurgents, and completed the mission. Ford was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal for Valor.
Mrs. Beth Cinelli on behalf of her husband, Chief Petty Officer Gregory S. Cinelli, United States Navy and Saugus Fire Department; accompanied by Fire Chief James Blanchard.
While serving in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Cinelli’s patrol was ambushed by armed insurgents. Without regard for his own safety, Cinelli stepped into the line of fire to rescue a Marine who had been shot in the head, ultimately saving his life. He has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for Valor. Cinelli is currently on his fourth tour of duty in Iraq.
Gunnery Sgt. Michael P. Connors, United States Marine Corps and Lunenburg Police Department; accompanied by Police Chief Daniel Bourgeois.
While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Connors’ section came under enemy fire. He immediately coordinated with adjacent units, providing them with situational awareness and machine gun fire on enemy positions, and established a medical evacuation for wounded Marines, while still covering an exposed area. He was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Bronze Star Medal for Valor.
Spc. Phillip Valliant, United States Army and Lowell Police Department; accompanied by Police Superintendent Ken Lavalee
While deployed in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Valliant conducted defensive operations to deny enemy forces access to a coalition base. During this battle and mostly because of Valliant’s actions, his platoon suffered only three injured. He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal for Valor.
The event was narrated by State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan, Commonwealth of Massachusetts and attended by several dignitaries including Sec. Mary Elizabeth Heffernan, Secretary of Public Safety and Security of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Maj. Gen. Joseph C. Carter, The Adjutant General of the Massachusetts National Guard, general officers, police and fire chiefs from dozens of police and fire departments around the commonwealth.
The Hundred Club of Massachusetts was founded in 1959 by Greater Boston business leader Norman Knight to assist families of firefighters and law enforcement officers who have fallen in the line of duty. Through the years, The Hundred Club has financially helped thousands of Massachusetts families in need. The club also has a number of ongoing programs for survivors.