Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Brian James Ivory American Hero

Brian showed that Marines are brave in battle and at home. Good job Marine, I am proud of you.

Marine Saves Fiery Crash Victim
Christine Armario
Newsday (Melville, New York)
Dec. 18--It wasn't Iraq, but a trip home from work unexpectedly turned into a heroic rescue operation for one recently discharged Marine.
Brian James Ivory, 25, of Islandia, was heading home from his bartending work in Stony Brook around 3:30 a.m. yesterday when the vehicle in front of him on Old Nichols Road in Hauppauge crashed into a utility pole.
William Decoteau's blue 2004 Ford Mustang erupted into flames, Ivory and Suffolk police said. Ivory called 911 and then approached Decoteau's car. The 24-year-old Brentwood man was trapped inside and screaming.
"He was screaming like I've never heard anyone scream in my life," said Ivory, who served five years in the Marines, including several months in Iraq.
As nearby residents gathered and warned that the car was probably going to explode, Ivory decided to take a chance and help the man out. He opened the driver's side door. Decoteau's hair and clothing were on fire.
Ivory reached for the seat belt, but it wouldn't release.
"The seats were on fire, everything was on fire," Ivory said. "I couldn't breathe." But Ivory kept on, he said, in the belief that if he didn't get Decoteau out of the car, he would likely die there.
"I just knew it had to be done," Ivory said yesterday afternoon. "You don't think about yourself. You just try to help others."
After what seemed like "forever," Ivory managed to unlatch the seat belt and drag Decoteau out of the car. Ivory said he helped douse the driver's shirt and hair, himself having suffered burns to his face and smoke inhalation.
Both Ivory and Decoteau were taken to Stony Brook University Medical Center and treated for their injuries, police said.
The Hauppauge Fire Department extinguished the vehicle's fire.
Suffolk police said Ivory saved Decoteau's life. Decoteau was issued a speeding ticket, police said. Ivory said Decoteau appeared to be going about 60 mph when he struck the utility pole.
Neither Decoteau nor his family could be reached for comment, but Ivory said they thanked him at the hospital for his risky rescue.
Decoteau's mother "was in tears," Ivory said. "She didn't even know what she could do. She said she'd like to do something for me."
The driver was still at the hospital yesterday. Ivory said he suffered severe burns to his face. "He was lucky," Ivory said. "If I didn't go in at that point, he probably would have a lot worse burns."
Ivory said he had been on leave from the Marines since October, and was officially honorably discharged on Saturday, hours before the accident. During his five months in Iraq, he worked as an airplane technician and crew member.
He also had been stationed for a period in North Carolina, during which time he helped with search and rescue missions.
He has been working as a bartender and manager in a restaurant, and in January plans to attend Stony Brook University to study biochemistry.
Ivory said he had no doubts that his work with the Marines prepared him to make the rescue. "You don't leave people behind," Ivory said. "That's one of our mottos. If he was left there, he was going to die."
Copyright (c) 2006, Newsday, Melville, N.Y. Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Business News. For reprints, email , call 800-374-7985 or 847-635-6550, send a fax to 847-635-6968, or write to The Permissions Group Inc., 1247 Milwaukee Ave., Suite 303, Glenview, IL 60025, USA.

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