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Local Army Reservist Receives Award 10 Years After Saving South Tower Coworkers

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The Army has awarded a local New York resident and Army Reservist the highest honor for a noncombat situation.

LISTEN: WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reports


It all started on Sept. 10, 2001, when then-Capt. Tom Sullivan, of Breezy Point, broke the news to his family that he and his wife were expecting twins. It was the happiest day of his life, he said, but that happiest didn't last long.

The next morning he went to work on the 95th floor of the south tower at the World Trade Center. When panic set in, Sullivan stayed put.

"Once I felt I had gotten everybody that was there, I proceeded outside and got in the stairwell, started running down," Sullivan said.

At the 78th floor, he found many more. In distress, he spent nearly an hour helping all of them get down.

Now, Sullivan is finally getting honored from the Army for his heroic efforts. The Army is awarding Sullivan with the Soldier's Medal.

Maj. Gen. Richard Colt said it wasn't until the Army saw a thank you letter from a woman who Sullivan had saved on that day that they learned of his courageous acts.

"I did not know that day what he had done," Colt said. "I don't know if I could have had that much courage."

Now, Sullivan will earn the army's highest honor for bravery in non-combat situations.

"The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Army distinguished him or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with the enemy," according to the Army.

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