PFEIFFER: Salute to a Falls firefighter
By Rick Pfeiffer/
— SATHER AIRBASE, IRAQ — No this dateline is not a mistake.
And no, I haven’t taken a new job as a war correspondent. But there are a lot of Falls cops and firefighters, who for the past four-plus years, have spent more than their fair share of time in Iraq.
Many have seen multiple tours and most have been directly in harms way. We’re lucky that every time, they made it back home, safe and sound.
Now comes word, that one of the Falls finest has been honored for putting his life on the line overseas to save a wounded comrade.
Master Sgt. Joseph Kinney of the 447th Expeditionary Logistics Readiness Squadron out of the Niagara Falls Airbase received the Air Force Commendation Medal with Valor on July 12.
Kinney, a rookie Falls firefighter, was awarded the commendation for his actions on June 20 following a rocket attack on his base which left other airmen injured. Let me quote, from an armed forces newspaper, report on the incident.
“Sergeant Kinney led the initial medical response to the airmen after calling for medical support. Upon arriving at the scene he found an airman with critical shrapnel injuries to the face, eye and thigh who was also experiencing difficulty breathing. After repositioning the airman to open an airway Sergeant Kinney cleaned and treated the wounds until medical support arrived.”
What makes this story so much more than just a good airman doing his job, is Kinney rushed to help his comrade before it was clear that the rocket attack was over. That’s right, without worrying about his own safety, Kinney rushed to help another airman that military officials said probably would have died without that quick response.
According to the military newspaper report, “the Valor status was awarded to Sergeant Kinney to recognize the selfless action of placing himself in harm’s way during an attack to provide aid to the injured airman and for being a credit to the United States Air Force.”
Kinney is the brother of Falls Police Officer Dave Kinney. He’s married, with three daughters and his folks still live in the Falls too.
Here’s the absolutely best news though, Kinney is tentatively scheduled to return home at the end of August.
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CITIZEN OF THE YEAR: Paul Dyster
By Jonathan Caruso
Many people can call the City of Niagara Falls their “back yard,” but few can claim that in a literal sense.
Paul Dyster can.
He lives so close to the falls, that he can hear them crashing from his bedroom window. While the falls feels like a part of his home, the community feels like a part of his family.
“I love it,” he said. “I love Niagara Falls and I never felt like I was at home anyplace else. I grew up here and it’s really a place I hold in my heart.”