Two Maine Soldiers Honored For Saving Couple From Fiery Crash 

Monday morning in Augusta, two soldiers from Maine were honored for saving the lives of two people back in 2011.Monday, in the Hall of Flags, Sergeant First Class Joel Carver of Clinton, and Sergeant Mark Connor of Lewiston were each awarded the Soldier’s Medal for bravery.”You don’t get this award just for doing something brave and you don’t get this award just for saving a life. You get this award for saving someone’s life or attempting to save someone’s life at significant risk to your own,” said General James Campbell, Adjutant General of the Maine Army National Guard. The two soldiers’ moment did not come on the battlefield. It came in Connecticut at 2:00 a.m. on the morning of March 26, 2011. They were driving to a training event being held in North Carolina when they spotted a car, flipped over on Interstate 95.”All we could see was just a single headlight off in the median between the north and southbound lanes. as we approached,” SFC Carver said recapping those early morning hours. “As we were going past it we could hear the horn stuck on.”Without hesitating, they stopped and backed up to the scene and found two people in the car.”They were trapped inside the vehicle, sir. They were unconscious when we first got there,” Sgt. Connor said. The two soldiers spent what they said felt like an eternity trying to free the couple from the burning vehicle.”To get the driver out we had to peel the windshield with our bare hands,” SFC Carver said. “We had to peel it apart chunk by chunk in order to make a hole big enough to get the driver out. His wife, I’m assuming, was in the backseat of the car. We had to break the window out and extract her from the rear of the vehicle.”All of this while the car was on fire.”Meanwhile the fire is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. It was pretty nuts.”The passengers were taken to the hospital where they survived their injuries. They undoubtedly owe their lives to SFC Carver and Sgt. Connor.Had their actions occurred in combat, both would have been awarded the distinguished Flying Cross. But they’re equally moved to receive the soldier’s medal in front of their families and their unit.”It’s overwhelming and humbling,” said SFC Carver. “Outstanding. That’s the best way I can describe it, sir: outstanding,” added Sgt. Connor. “I’m honored to be in the Maine Army National Guard to celebrate this, sir.”