Col. (P) John Hort, the commanding general for 3rd Infantry Division - Rear, addresses the crowd during a presentation of the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal to Shane Coleman, 3rd from left, and Eric Dukes, 5th from left, Sept.25, at Fort Stewart.
HINESVILLE, GA (WTOC) -
Shane Coleman and Eric Dukes have received the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal for saving the lives of two Marne family members in June.
The medals were presented Sept. 25 at Fort Stewart on behalf of Maj. Gen. Robert Abe Abrams, 3rd Infantry Division Commander, by Col. (P) John Hort, commanding general for the 3rd Infantry Division - Rear and Col. Kimo Gallahue, commander of the 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team.
Coleman and Dukes were recognized for their heroic efforts to Christiana and Samuel LeBlanc, children of Staff Sgt. Calvin LeBlanc, from drowning off St. Simons Island. Coleman and Dukes swam out to the children after they called for help. The children were swimming with their father when the incident occurred. Staff Sgt. LeBlanc did not survive.
Hort, a former lifeguard, told soldiers, family and friends at the presentation that he was proud of Coleman and Dukes and grateful that they took action to save the lives of Marne family members. Coleman and Dukes were also presented with 3rd ID coins, a traditional token of appreciation given by Army commanders for excellent performance.
Gallahue, LeBlanc's brigade commander, also thanked the two men for their actions.
Coleman and Dukes, both of Brunswick, said they appreciated everything the 3rd ID had done for them.
"Thanks for the awards presented to my son Shane Coleman. We will always cherish them and the ceremony was very outstanding and the food was great," wrote Yolanda Harrison on the 4th IBCT's Facebook page after the ceremony.
Jerry Youngblood and Trish Schaffer, volunteers with the Glynn County search and rescue team, were also presented with certificates of appreciation, signed by Maj. Gen. Abrams and Command Sgt. Maj. Edd Watson, who are both deployed in Afghanistan, for their contributions to the search.
Jay Wiggins, Glynn County Emergency Management Agency director, was in attendance and said he was very proud of Youngblood and Schaffer.
The Outstanding Civilian Service Medal is the third highest honor that the U.S. Army can give to a private citizen. The medal is only awarded for outstanding service that makes a substantial contribution or is of significance to the major command. It is only awarded by a major general or above.