U.S. Army Pvt. Anthony Del Tufo, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, receives a state award from the Nutley Board of Education at Nutley High School in Nutley, New Jersey, Dec. 11, 2023, for helping residents of a home threatened by a fire.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Seth Cohen)
U.S. Army Pvt. Anthony Del Tufo, Recruiting and Retention Battalion, New Jersey Army National Guard, receives a state award from the Nutley Board of Education at Nutley High School in Nutley, New Jersey, Dec. 11, 2023, for helping residents of a home threatened by a fire. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by Spc. Seth Cohen) (Photo Credit: Spc. Seth Cohen) VIEW ORIGINAL

NUTLEY, N.J. - New Jersey Army National Guard Pvt. Anthony Del Tufo was recognized by the Nutley School Board of Education Dec. 11 for assisting residents of a home threatened by fire.

Del Tufo credited the military principles of civil service he embodied early in his military career.

"I didn't think it was a big deal," Del Tufo said. "I was just doing what was right."

His recruiter, U.S. Army Sgt. Miguel Valoy, expressed surprise at this response.

"I informed him how significant this is," Valoy said. "He probably saved their lives."

In what seemed like an unremarkable afternoon in Nutley, Del Tufo noticed a concerning sight — a burning car in a garage. Instead of calling 911, he rushed to the house and rang the doorbell repeatedly until someone answered.

Once the homeowner appeared, Del Tufo ensured they were aware of the danger and prevented the owner from risking their safety by attempting to retrieve sentimental items as the fire intensified.

The Nutley Fire Department arrived promptly and extinguished the fire. Their assessment revealed that had they been called any later, the fire would have spread, likely destroying the house.

After the fire was extinguished, Del Tufo remained overnight to ensure the occupants were safe.

His selfless act earned immense gratitude from those involved.

"He could have left us alone when the firefighters came," said the homeowner. "He chose to stay because he cared for our safety. His selfless nature is rare, and we felt the mayor and township needed to know of his actions."

Awareness of his actions spread among the citizens of Nutley. Ultimately, members of the New Jersey Army National Guard’s Recruit Sustainment Program learned of his heroic deeds.

Following an intense weekend drill at the National Guard Training Center in Seagirt, Del Tufo was awarded the Army Achievement Medal for his actions.

"He did what many didn't do — he acted," said Valoy. "He helped and made a difference like all good Soldiers should."

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