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Tuesday, October 29, 2013 - 8:18pm
EL PASO (U.S. ARMY) — A Fort Bliss Soldier was honored by the El Paso Independent School District during a ceremony held at the EPISD building in El Paso, Oct. 15.
Sergeant Matthew Blankenship, an infantryman with 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, from Bedford, Va., received the EPISD Outstanding Volunteer of the Month Award from EPISD board members, for helping children and parents cross a flooded street during the September rainstorm.
Consecutive days of rain caused flooding in some parts of El Paso which made conditions on streets dangerous for foot and automobile traffic.
“He arrived soaking wet and asked if he could help,” said Sandra Sanchez, principal of Crosby Elementary School. “It was like an angel coming to assist. He started carrying several students across the ‘Wren River,’” said Sanchez referring to Wren Avenue. “The water was coming up toward the entrance of our school and we were very worried about students crossing the street and getting carried down by the water.”
Volunteering to serve the American people is part of the oath military personnel sign up to do, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, according to the Soldier’s Creed.
“I asked the police officers if I could be of any assistance and they told me to see if they needed help at the school so I walked down to the school and helped children cross the street with their parents in the high water,” said Blankenship.
Blankenship stayed on the scene to help as many children as he could until his services were no longer needed.
“He stayed with us for about an hour, which included helping a parent carry her little twins across the canal current, which was deep enough to carry cars away,” said Sanchez. “He walked all the way back toward Dyer, helping the mom and her twins.”
Blankenship said he was motivated to lend a helping hand because his mother works for a schoolin Virginia and because he is a Soldier who answers the call of duty.
“He was surely an angel helping Crosby students and me,” said Sanchez.