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Athens Soldier awarded Ribbon for Valor

Monday, November 04, 2019 | 08:05am

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On November 2, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, awarded the Adjutant General’s Ribbon for Valor to Sgt. Ryan Grillo at the Volunteer Training Site in Smyrna. Grillo, an Athens native and soldier with the 1176th Transportation Company, was awarded the Ribbon for Valor for exceptional meritorious heroism. 

On September 26, 2018, while traveling to his civilian job in Athens during a heavy rainfall, Grillo came upon a bridge that was prone to flooding. The water from the creek below was much higher than normal and had overtaken the bridge. Two vehicles were stuck in the rising floodwaters. Uncertain if anyone was inside, Grillo decided to drive through the swift water, past the two cars in distress, and managed to get to the other side of the bridge and park in a safe area. While driving past, he saw that one vehicle was still occupied by a panicking woman and the other by a mother and her small child.

He couldn’t stop for fear of getting stuck himself. Once his vehicle was parked, he set out on foot to rescue those stranded. Joined by another citizen who also stopped to help, they pulled all three victims out of their cars and brought them to safety. About 20 minutes later the McMinn County Rescue Squad arrived to help the victims and to recover the stranded vehicles. 

“Sergeant Grillo was at the right place and at the right time to help those stranded motorists, and we are all proud of him and grateful for what he did,” said Holmes. “He represents everything that is right about the Tennessee National Guard and brings great credit to himself and his family.” 

Grillo’s mother, Dawn, and his brother, Sam, were present during the ceremony and expressed their deepest admiration and pride for his actions on that day.

Photo of Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, presents Sgt. Ryan Grillo

Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, presents Sgt. Ryan Grillo, a Soldier with the 1176th Transportation Company, the Adjutant General’s Ribbon for Valor on November 2. Grillo and another citizen rescued two women and a small child from flood waters in Athens on September 26, 2018. 

 
Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, presents Sgt. Ryan Grillo, a Soldier with the 1176th Transportation Company, the Adjutant General’s Ribbon for Valor

Maj. Gen. Jeff Holmes, Tennessee’s Adjutant General, presents Sgt. Ryan Grillo, a Soldier with the 1176th Transportation Company, the Adjutant General’s Ribbon for Valor on November 2. Grillo and another citizen rescued two women and a small child from flood waters in Athens on September 26, 2018.