By Sgt. 1st Class Felix A. FigueroaApril 12, 2012
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Duty, honor, country are concepts to which most Americans, especially service members, can relate. But for Staff Sgt. Gheorghe Banaduc, squad leader with 4th Platoon, B Company, 3-85 Warrior Transition Unit, those words mean more than just a concept; they are a way of life.
In addition to his 11 years of military service, the 30-year-old Banaduc has contributed to his community as a certified volunteer emergency medical technician and New York state level one interior firefighter.
His dedication to emergency medicine and community service dates back to high school when he first participated in the North Myrtle Beach, S.C., rescue squad explore program. The program is designed to mentor and guide young adults into the world of emergency services.
As a result of his countless hours rendering aid, performing special services and organizing charitable events throughout the community, he recently was awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal just two months after receiving the Army Achievement Medal for saving a fellow Soldier's life.
"You know, this is great! But at the end of each day I ask myself 'did I make a difference in someone's life today?'" Banaduc said.
According to his colleagues and company commander, the answer is yes! Staff Sgt. Ashley Arwood, another squad leader in the same platoon, recommended Banaduc for the MOVSM. The company commander, 1st Lt. Matthew B. Robinson, recommended Banaduc for the AAM.
The citation on the AAM notes that on Aug. 19, 2011, Banaduc was driving on Route 274 in Oneida County and was the first person to arrive on the scene after a 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldier swerved to avoid hitting a deer and hit the guard rail, sustaining multiple leg and collar bone injuries.
Banaduc, a certified medic for New York state, provided immediate medical attention before paramedics arrived, stabilizing the Soldier so that paramedics could transport him safely and quickly.
Banaduc is a native of Loris, S.C., and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Having survived two explosions, one while deployed as a tanker and the other during a training exercise in Fort Bragg, N.C., he knows full well the challenges of overcoming injuries and various setbacks as he, too, was a wounded warrior Soldier.
"It's all about setting the example of 'Be, Know, Do.'"
"I tell my Soldiers all the time that if I can survive and go onto living a meaningful, active life, you can too," said Banaduc after having been rehabilitated.
Furthermore, Banaduc added that he decided to become WTU cadre because as a wounded warrior, he has a better understanding of what these Soldiers go through and knows the way toward a successful rehabilitation to duty or civilian life.
"I love my husband and couldn't be more proud of his sacrifices and commitment," said Jessica Banaduc.
Since 1993, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal recognizes members of the military who perform substantial volunteer service to the local community above and beyond the duties required as a member of the U.S. Armed Forces.
(Figueroa serves as platoon sergeant with 4th Platoon, B Company, 3-85th Warrior Transition Unit).