Acting on his own initiative, Richard Lawrence, an Active Guard Reserve soldier in Pittsburgh, operated a 26-ton palletized loading system vehicle for 14 straight hours in six feet of flood water to rescue more than 200 people trapped by the remnants of Hurricane Ivan in western Pennsylvania. He then assumed charge of a command center, assisting the devastated region.
Shortly after, driving the same PLS truck, he saw a civilian vehicle roll over. Lawrence used his truck to stop traffic before freeing the victims and administering first aid.
He served as family readiness group coordinator for two batteries in Iraq for 14 months each. In addition to his duties as supply sergeant for his battalion, Lawrence also teaches Sunday school and is in his church choir.
First Sgt. Brent Jurgersen - "The Rock," as his troops call him - was ambushed and shot in the face last June in Iraq. But he wasn't going to let that keep him out of action. He fought to recover in just four months and return to his unit. Once back in Iraq on patrol again, his Humvee was hit in January. He suffered serious wounds to his head and arm, and he lost a leg.
After a few weeks at Walter Reed Medical Center, Jurgersen returned to Germany to greet his unit as it returned from Iraq - and received a thunderous ovation from the troops. He is now back at Walter Reed. When not in physical therapy, he spends his time visiting other recovering soldiers and looking forward to resuming his Army career.