The Union Leader Sunday News - New Hampshire
 Web Edition The Online Edition of New Hampshire's Daily Newspapers Thursday, Sep. 12, 2002  
News - March 26, 2002
Annual awards dinner
to recognize NH heroes

Union Leader News

Two men who responded to the disaster following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will receive special recognition on April 19, when The Union Leader and New Hampshire Sunday News hold their annual Hero Awards Dinner.

The awards dinner, to be held at C.R. Sparks in Bedford, will continue the newspapers’ tradition of honoring New Hampshire residents who have risked their lives to save or attempt to save another.

In all, the event will honor 31 individuals, three firefighting companies — Pembroke, Hooksett and Allenstown — and six young people who will receive honorable mentions.

In addition, Ray Summers, of Manchester, and Russell Keat, of Grantham, will receive special recognition hero awards for their efforts at the World Trade Center disaster.

Summers, 24, was at Shea Stadium Sept. 11, reporting for his first day of work as a sports management intern for the New York Mets as a sports management intern. He is a junior at Southern New Hampshire University.

An EMT, he responded to calls from Manhattan seeking emergency medical personnel and spent 72 hours at Ground Zero. He was digging 30 feet under the collapsed towers when a third building at 1 Liberty Plaza came crashing down. He helped locate two Port Authority officers still alive.

Keat, 40, immediately called Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s office, then picked up his gear, a few personal items, raced to the elementary school to say good-bye to his two daughters and drove to New York City, arriving at Ground Zero by 4 p.m.

Keat is trained to work underground to map crevices, tunnels and “voids” — holes in debris that in the case of the World Trade Center could be several stories deep — to make the site safer for other rescuers.

Rescues of people from burning buildings and rescues of people trapped in crashed vehicles dominate the evening’s program where rescuers and rescuees often gather to renew acquaintances made under very strenuous conditions for the first time since the incident.

Whether ordinary people or professional firefighters, they will be recognized for their efforts in saving lives “under extreme and substantial danger, above and beyond the call of duty.”

Here’s a list of the others who will be honored for putting themselves at risk to rescue others:

  • Claremont Fire Capt. Tom Buinicky and firefighter “Buzz” Chamberlain received burns and injuries in rescue attempts at an apartment building fire in January.
  • Manchester firefighter Kevin Healy rescued two people from a burning building on West Merrimack Street in February. He was later treated for inhaling toxic smoke and other gases.
  • Allenstown Capt. Dan Silva and firefighter Keith Lambert joined with Pembroke Lt. Dave Bouffard and Lt. Rob Farley and firefighter Patrick Maccini at a bed-and-breakfast inn fatal fire in July. The inn’s owner died.
  • Holderness Fire Lt. Casino Clogston entered a burning building in April, found a severely burned man, and carried him through smoke and flame to a rescue crew outside.
  • Kathleen Moore of Goffstown and Henry Gerlack Jr. of Barnstead joined in April to remove a Barnstead man from a crashed automobile. Fifteen seconds later, the car exploded.
  • After several attempts to open the doors of a crashed, burning vehicle in Auburn in June, 76-year old Jack Lee finally reached a trapped semi-conscious teenager and pulled her to safety.
  • Smelling smoke, Elizabeth “Boo” Murray of Danville raced to a neighboring home, where she finally managed to enter and brought a elderly woman to safety from the flames. The woman later died from injuries in the June fire.
  • Arthur Moreau of Manchester and Russ Lauriat and Russ VanderHorst, both of Goffstown, pulled 28-year-old Scott Derendal from his wrecked, burning vehicle in Weare in July.
  • Teenage boaters Nick Poulin of Manchester and John Lank and Dustin Sherwood, both of Barnstead, reacted quickly as an out-of-control boat circled a Lyndonville, Vt., teen who had fallen into Suncook Lake in July.
  • Hearing a crash near their home, Fred and Joyce Courser of Concord raced to the scene and teamed up to free two youngsters trapped in a vehicle that was on the verge of exploding in August.
  • Nathan Langlais and John Horan saw a vehicle skid out of control and down an embankment in August. Seeing smoke and fire and an unconscious driver, the two roommates ignored “pop-pop” sounds from the gasoline tank, freed the trapped driver and removed him safely.
  • On their way to fishing on Lake Winnipesaukee in August, Derek Vitale of Chester and Anthony Tripari of Merrimac, Mass., smelled smoke and saw flames coming from a Farmington apartment. The two raced through the burning building, where Vitale found a baby and carried it to safety. The baby’s parents, however, died in the blaze.
  • When Verizon cable workers Paul Gagne and Jeffrey Morse spotted smoke coming from a nearby building in September, they not only freed trapped animals but also rescued a woman from the smoke and flames.
  • Christopher Smith of Londonderry and Timothy Dillon of Hampton Falls saw flames shooting from a crashed vehicle in October, then went to work — Smith from the front seat, Dillon from the back — to free a trapped woman and then carry her to safety.
  • Seeing smoke, off-duty Manchester Firefighter Edward Roy drove to a West Merrimack Street apartment building and began banging on doors and yelling for occupants to evacuate. Flames scorched his jacket.

Tickets for the Hero Awards Dinner are $25 each. Call The Union Leader Promotions Department at 800-562-8218 or 668-4321, extensions 506, 507 or 509.

Checks can be made out to Union Leader Hero Awards and addressed to the Promotions Department, P.O. Box 9555, Manchester 03108-9555. If ordering tickets by mail, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.