PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION HONORS MASSACHUSETTS RESIDENTS WITH THE MADELINE AMY SWEENEY AWARD
Lieutenant Governor Murray presents the 8th annual awards in memory of 9/11 hero, recognizes civilian bravery of Massachusetts residents who saved a life in car crash
Governor Patrick at the annual 9/11 Commemoration Ceremony at the State House. See additional photos. (Photo credit: Matt Bennett/Governor's Office)
Named for the 9/11 hero, the Sweeney Award honors individuals who demonstrate extraordinary bravery in an effort to save the life of another in danger. Peter Chenevert, Michael Genest, Jessica Genest and David Bianco - all residents of Uxbridge, Massachusetts - were recognized for saving a woman trapped in a burning SUV this past January.
"Madeline Amy Sweeney was selfless, and she was brave. These awards honor her legacy by recognizing individuals who put themselves on the line to help others in need," said Governor Deval Patrick. "I congratulate these four ordinary citizens for being at their best in a time of crisis and reminding all of us that Ms. Sweeney's spirit is alive and well in the Commonwealth today."
"We honor these four courageous residents who risked their lives to help a person in a very dangerous situation," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "As we remember Ms. Sweeney, we continue to recognize the selfless and brave acts by everyday residents of the Commonwealth."
On January 26, 2010, a SUV crashed on North Main Street in Uxbridge, trapping the single occupant in the vehicle as it caught fire. Peter Chenevert heard the accident and called 911 before rushing to the scene to help. The driver was unresponsive with her seat belt still on. As Chenevert used a fire extinguisher from his house to put out the flames, Michael and Jessica Genest and David Bianco were passing by. Bianco and Micheal Genest assisted by keeping the vehicle from turning over as Jessica cut the seat belt loose to pull the driver free. Uxbridge police officers who responded to the scene credit the assistance of these selfless individuals with playing a large part in saving the driver's life.
The Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery was created in the spirit of the heroism and bravery shown by Sweeney and so many other victims on September 11, 2001. Sweeney, known as Amy, was a flight attendant aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the plane that was hijacked on the morning of September 11th and crashed into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Before the crash, Sweeney managed to convey critical information about the plane's five hijackers, including descriptions of four and their seat numbers, to ground services by telephone. An Acton resident, Sweeney left behind a husband and two children.
"It takes a special type of person to risk their life to save another," said Public Safety Secretary Mary Beth Heffernan. "This recognition is a testament to our honorees and who they are."
"There are extraordinary people living all around us, and the selfless actions of these four individuals are further evidence of that. Risking personal injury to themselves in order to save a complete stranger truly exemplifies what it means to be a local hero and a true neighbor," said Senator Richard T. Moore.
"With total disregard for their own personal safety, all of these heroes made a difference in someone's life. A true tragedy was averted by these quick thinking individuals," said Representative Jennifer Callahan.
"Peter, Michael, Jessica and David exemplify the word courage in its true meaning. All four individuals are special and will be honored in the heroic spirit of Madeline Amy Sweeney," said Representative Paul Kujawski.