WARWICK, RI — It’s been more than a year since Connor Devine, 19, of Warwick, a Rite Aid shift manager, used a shopping cart to strike a Westport, MA, man stabbing his co-worker, Alyssa Garcia, 18, of Warwick, helping to save her life, actions the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission honored with the Carnegie Medal, presented at Warwick City Hall Wednesday.
On March 5, 2017, Jacob Gallant, 41, entered the Rite Aid at 1201 Warwick Avenue with a large butcher knife and repeatedly stabbed Garcia. Devine used a shopping cart to strike Gallant to stop the attack, and restrained the man with the help of Stanley Bastian, 51, of Warwick, a customer.
Mayor Joseph J. Solomon gathered members of Devine’s family and the press in his office to present the award to Devine, now 21, on behalf of the Commission. “Clearly, a young man of this nature and ability does not come naturally. It’s something that I think has a lot to do with upbringing. How you view society, both from your grandparents, your parents, friends, peers, education. That’s what creates the young man that we have before us today, and I’m very proud to have him as a citizen of our city,” Solomon said.
“I didn’t think about myself until afterwards,” Devine said, reflecting on the attack and his response. He said he considers himself a normal citizen. “I don’t feel like a hero. It’s just something that I feel I am obligated to do. It’s something that you should normally do in the situation. Save someone’s life,” Devine said.
Devine’s mother, Melissa, and father, Bill, wearing his Corrections officer uniform, were among those witnessing the presentation.
“We’re very proud of him,” Melissa said, noting that her son is an Eagle Scout, better preparing him for such situations.
When asked if Devine takes after his father, Bill said, “I’d like to think so. I’ve never been in a situation so dangerous.”
Warwick City Councilors Richard Corley, Jeremy Rix, and unopposed Democratic candidate for Ward 8 Anthony Sinapi also attended the event.
Devine is also a member of the Warwick Democratic Committee, noted Rix, who said he was happy to see the young man’s heroics recognized by the Commission.
The Commission was founded by Andrew Carnegie in 1904 to recognize “civilization’s heroes” and to provide financial assistance for those disabled and the dependents of those killed while helping others. Carnegie was inspired to create the Commission following a massive explosion on Jan. 25, 1904 that claimed 181 lives in Harwick, PA. Carnegie set aside $5 million under the care commission to recognize “civilization’s heroes” and to provide financial assistance for those disabled and the dependents of those killed while helping others.
Garcia’s fellow employees,
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