When they arrived, they found a man in his 40s under the train that had struck him, with his torso and legs trapped in the train's undercarriage. With about three feet of crawl space beneath the train (and two feet in the tunnel wall area) in which to work, they inserted an IV (intravenous) line, and a tube to assist the victim's labored breathing. They were advised to leave the train pit for their own safety while Boston Fire Department personnel attempted to lift the train, but opted instead to stay with their patient.
Jacks were put in place, and for 20 minutes workers tried in vain to raise the train. The effort had to be suspended until heavier jacks could be brought in.
At one point as it began to move, the train shifted toward James Ahern and the victim, yet Ahern continued to ventilate and shield the injured man despite the very real possibility that they could both be crushed. Eventually, the fire department workers were able to lift the massive apparatus high enough for John Ahern to crawl back under and resume assisting his uncle in extricating the victim. Once free, the paramedics rushed the man to a nearby hospital.
On May 23, 2003, the Aherns received the first annual Moore Medical Valor Award, given to heroic emergency medical service (EMS) personnel by the Connecticut-based Moore Medical Corporation. And on March 22 of this year, they each received a Public Safety Officer Medal of Valor (the nation's highest national award for valor by a public safety officer) from President Bush. The award was created by Congress in 2001 to honor those who, without regard to personal safety, act "above and beyond the call of duty," and with "exceptional courage, extraordinary decisiveness and presence of mind," in an "attempt to save or protect human life."
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|Title Annotation:||The Goodness Of America|
|Author:||Lee, Robert W.|
|Publication:||The New American|
|Date:||Jun 14, 2004|
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