Local soldier awarded Ribbon for Valor over the weekend
Over the weekend, an Athens man was awarded the Ribbon for Valor for his bravery. In September 2018, Ryan Grillo rescued two women and a small child who were stuck in their cars on a bridge that had flooded.
Grillo is a soldier in the National Guard so he said it was a natural response for him to stop. He saw a lot of people turning around before they crossed the bridge, but it was never a question for him to help out.
Ryan Grillo was driving to work on a rainy day in September of 2018, when he came to a bridge on Clearwater Road that was flooded. The creek water from below had risen and two cars were left stranded in the middle of the bridge.
"I just didn't like the idea that everybody was turning around and leaving so I tried to drive into the water," Grillo said.
As he drove by, the two cars started floating and he noticed people screaming for help.
"So I got to the other side, parked the truck, and then walked back in to get them out of the cars."
The water was up to his chest at this point. He managed to get to one of the cars and pull a woman and her child out through the window. In the other car, he was able to open the door and save an elderly woman.
Grillo told Channel 3, "The water was rushing really fast so once the door started to open, it helped push the door open."
Once everyone was accounted for, they all walked back to a safe area, and the rescue squad showed up later and got the vehicles. The women were very grateful for Grillo's help that day.
About a year later, Grillo was told he would receive a Ribbon for Valor for his heroism. At first, he didn’t believe it was necessary.
Grillo said, "I don't really talk about that stuff. I just do it and move on, it's not something I try to make a big deal about."
After a while, he thought it was a great way to bring more attention to what the National Guard does.
"I felt the other guys deserved to see the General come down and present it, so I was proud to do that for them," Grillo said.
He says the award highlighted what they are, and what they do. He doesn't believe he deserves the award because it is something he does all the time, and he knows the guys in his unit would have done the same thing that day.