- Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
Media Contact for Governor Baker Presents the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Bravery to Bridgewater Residents Ray Armstead and Ryan Saba
Felix Browne, Communications Director
BOSTON — On the seventeenth anniversary of terrorist attacks that took the lives of nearly 3,000 people, Governor Charlie Baker today awarded the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award for Civilian Bravery to two Bridgewater men who risked their lives to save a couple stuck in a disabled car on a railroad crossing as a train approached.
“With little time to spare before tragedy struck, Ray Armstead and Ryan Saba acted decisively to intervene and help two strangers in an urgent and hazardous situation,” said Governor Baker. “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a better place because of people like Ray and Ryan and their bravery rightly honors the proud tradition of these awards and the legacy of service tragically begun by Madeline Amy Sweeney on September 11, 2001.”
January 4, 2018 saw the first big snowfall of the year; visibility was poor and road conditions were very challenging to vehicles due to accumulating snow. Plows were having a hard time keeping up with the volume of snow and there were reports of stuck vehicles. Arthur Barros was driving his wife, Peggy, to work and reported to police later that he had become stuck twice before becoming stuck a third and final time on the railroad tracks.
In the early afternoon Bridgewater Police started to receive reports of a motor vehicle crash at the Broad Street railroad crossing. Police arrived on the scene to find Arthur and Peggy Barros safe and unharmed. The couple reported to the officers that they had been assisted out of their stranded vehicle by two young men who had arrived on the scene to get them out of the snow. The young men had been nearby and saw the stranded vehicle, offering help when they heard an approaching train and saw the railroad crossing arms coming down. Soon after they freed Arthur and Peggy Barros their vehicle was struck by a train. They remained with the Barros’ until police arrived.
Police brought Arthur and Peggy Barros to their home and then posted on social media that they were seeking to speak with the Good Samaritans. The following day Ray Armstead and Ryan Saba identified themselves to police as those responsible for helping the stranded couple.
About the Madeline Amy Sweeney Award:
For 14 years, Madeline Amy Sweeney was an American Airlines flight attendant. She lived in Acton, Massachusetts with her husband, Michael Sweeney, and their two small children. On September 11, 2001, she was aboard American Airlines Flight 11, the first of two aircraft hijacked by terrorists and flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Before the plane hit the tower, 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 the victims of September 11, 2001, that this award was created.