Marine Sgt. Justin Flanigan said he knows “off-duty” is just a seven-letter word, especially when it comes to saving lives and acting under pressure.
Flanigan, an Elyria native, was honored in late November for helping save his neighbor who collapsed earlier in the year in North Carolina. He works as a radar team chief.
On April 21 as he and his wife, Marine Sgt. Sofia Alvarez, were on their way home, their neighbor Jenean Labrecque called for help when her husband collapsed. Alvarez stayed with their 13-month-old child, Diego, while Flanigan jumped into action.
Flanigan found Jenean’s husband, Sam, on the ground and told Jenean to call 911. He cooled Sam with an ice pack and checked his breathing. When he determined Sam wasn’t breathing, he performed CPR until he started breathing again. He then carried him outside to wait for emergency medical personnel.
Flanigan said he was trained in the military to act efficiently under pressure and also took a combat lifesavers course nearly two years ago. Maj. Scott Allen Furlong presented Flanigan with the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for his actions. Flanigan said he was happy to receive the recognition but felt he was not special.
“I didn’t do it for an award; I did it to help a friend,” he said. “So it was nice to receive something from it, but I didn’t need anything from it.”
Furlong said he wasn’t surprised hearing what Flanigan did because of his work ethic and discipline. Although every Marine has the training and ability to do what he did, Furlong said Flanigan’s actions deserved recognition.
“We train for combat and everything in between; and when it came down to it, he was able to save this man,” he said.