NEWS | Oct. 19, 2015

Sailor assists lowcountry flood victims

By Airman 1st Class Clayton Cupit Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

A Sailor from Joint Base Charleston, S.C., has been awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for going above and beyond during the recent floods that devastated much of the low country.

Utilitiesman Second Class (Seabee Combat Warfare/Expeditionary Warfare) Gary Pearson, Navy Consolidated Brig Charleston, did what servicemembers are trained to do, which is to help others in a time of need.

Through his quick thinking and actions, he got his neighbors to safety. During the flooding, Pearson's neighborhood began to take on increasing flood waters. Putting his own safety and needs aside, he safely escorted two neighbors from a flooded home and provided safe passage to an elderly, blind veteran trapped by the flood waters.

"My neighbors called me to come down and pick them up," said Pearson. "The water was up to their waist, it was unbelievable."

A Hurricane Katrina survivor, Pearson was no stranger to flooding events like this.  He did everything he could to ensure the safety of the people in his community.

"If it wasn't for him, I'm not sure what we would've done," said one of Pearson's neighbors. "We were running out of options quick."

Another of Pearson's neighbors was also running out of options.

"One of my neighbors was a blind veteran who was in serious trouble," said Pearson. "There was a bus that came to pick him up but it wasn't going anywhere near his house because of the high water. I went to his home, picked him up and carried him to the bus."

Pearson thanked his leadership for their outstanding support and making sure he was taken care of.

"My chain of command has been very incredibly supportive of me during the time of the flooding," said Pearson. "They were always there for me and provided me the time I needed to recover. My actions are an absolute direct reflection of my leadership."