Army National Guard Sgt. Brandan Voss, a North Collins Resident, Receives New York Valor Medal

Soldier honored for risky rescues made as Hurricane Sandy hit Long Island

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New York Army National Guard Sgt. Brandan Voss

LATHAM, NY (05/01/2013)(readMedia)-- New York Army National Guard Sgt. Brandan Voss, a North Collins resident, has been awarded the New York State Medal for Valor.

Voss, a member of Buffalo's 105th Military Police Company, was one of five Soldiers recognized during a ceremony this week for braving Hurricane Sandy's rising flood waters to rescue at least 28 people on the night of October 29, 2012.

The New York State Medal of Valor is the most prestigious New York State military award. Service members honored with the Medal of Valor must display personal bravery or self-sacrifice above and beyond the call of duty and demonstrate "for gallantry and intrepidity above all comrades."

"All of the 4,500 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen who responded to the governor's call when Hurricane Sandy hit did their duty, but Sgt. Brandan Voss went above and beyond the call of duty and risked his own life to help others," said Major General Patrick Murphy, the Adjutant General of New York.

"He exemplifies what a Citizen Soldier should be," Murphy added.

Specialist Isaac Wieboldt, also a member of the 105th Military Police Company, earned the Medal of Valor in the same incident.

On the afternoon of Oct 29, Voss's unit had just completed a convoy march from Buffalo to Long Island as a component of the New York National Guard's Initial Response Force. The 105th MP Company's mission was to set up in the Farmingdale Armed Forces Reserve Center while the hurricane hit and then immediately begin aiding civilian authorities.

The Voss, Wieboldt and two other Soldiers, were dispatched with two humvees to assist the Island Park Fire Department at 6:30 p.m. as Sandy hit.

Reporting to Fire Chief Anthony D'Esposito the Guardsmen almost immediately accompanied the chief to check out the report of a fire raging amidst the flood. When they arrived at the burning house they dismounted their vehicles and began going door-to-door in the four –and-a-half foot deep water, alerting residents and helping them into a truck driven by members of the fire department.

Despite the frigid water, fast-moving debris, and downed power lines the military policeman stuck with the job all night, assisting in rescuing at least 20 local residents, despite the fact that they were forced to abandon their vehicles due to rising flood waters.

Voss, age 23, is a resident of North Collins, and joined the New York Army National Guard in August 2007. He currently serves as a Military Police Team Leader with the 105th Military Police Company and deployed to Iraq in March 2011, where he served in the Tactical Operations Center. He received an Army Commendation Medal for his service in Iraq.

As a civilian, Voss is currently enrolled full time at Erie Community College and studying Police Science. He graduated from the Erie County Police Training Academy Program in March 2012

He is actively pursuing his career in law enforcement. He recently extended his current contract with the New York Army National Guard for three more years.