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This year’s annual Madeline “Amy” Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery, was awarded to Paul Galotti in a ceremony at the State House, Sunday. Galotti received the award for the bravery he showed when he rescued a man from a burning building back in May.
“I’m just shocked, you know, I was just doing what I was raised to do,” Galotti said to reporters following the ceremony. “I’m very humbled by the whole experience,” he continued.
Galotti rescued the resident of a burning building in Easthampton, back in May.
Facing heavy smoke in a burning building across the street from his home in Easthampton, our colleague Paul Galotti made a split-second decision to help a stranger. “Literally, you just ask yourself what kind of person are you going to be?” Read his story⬇️ https://t.co/9xvYPiIpX9
— Eversource MA (@EversourceMA) May 23, 2022
“I could see all the fire coming out the lower level of the house. There was like, four or five cars in the driveway, so I figured somebody was in there,” Galotti said, recounting the fire to reporters at today’s ceremony.
Galotti said he was able to gain access to the house on fire. Once inside he said he called out several times seeking anyone who may have been in need of help. He told Boston 25 News that he originally didn’t hear any response, and was getting ready to leave the house. He decided to yell out one more time before leaving.
“I called to the basement one more time, and there was someone down there,” Galotti said. “Your heart is just in your stomach. There was just so much smoke coming out of there, I didn’t even know at that point how someone could be yelling back to me in there,” he continued.
Back in July, the Easthampton Fire Department recognized Galotti for his actions.
Congratulations to @01027FD new firefighters: Tyler Colby and Nathan Cowan, new Captain: Jason Dunham, and new Deputy Chief: Kevin Benson!
Last night we also recognized Easthampton resident Paul Galotti, who rescued a fellow resident from a building fire in May. pic.twitter.com/x4BrUGAOAy
— Senator John Velis (@SenJohnVelis) July 6, 2022
Upon finding out that he was going to be receiving the Madeline “Amy” Sweeney Award, Galotti said he was in disbelief.
“Just knowing what so many 9/11 families have been through, what Amy Sweeney went through, you know, to be here for that it’s just a huge honor,” Galotti said.
The Madeline “Amy” Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery is an annual award given out in honor of Amy Sweeney, to a civilian that demonstrates exceptional bravery, without regard for person safety, to save the life of another person in actual, imminent danger.
Sweeney was an American Airlines flight attendant working on American Airlines Flight 11. “In the flight’s final minutes, Sweeney contacted the airline’s ground services crew to convey critical information about the hijackers and their actions on the plane that morning. It is for her heroism and all victims of September 11, 2001, that this award was created,” a website for the award states.
For a list of past year’s winners, click here.
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