Legion Presents Medal of Merit to One of Its Own

American Legion Medal of Merit

Each year near September 11th, American Legion Post 47 awards their Medal of Merit to Holliston first responders who have performed heroic actions. On Friday, the Post awarded the Medal of Merit to Holliston resident, and MassPort Firefighter Mitch Gannon.

Imagine that you are traveling through Logan Airport and you observe a man slumped in his seat. Some might not notice the man, others might continue on to their flight. Mitch Gannon stopped to render aid.

“On November 11, 2019, Mitch, who was in route to Fort Benning for Infantry Officers’ School (he is a 2nd Lieutenant in the New Hampshire National Guard), approached the man and determined he had no pulse. He began CPR and had a bystander call 911. An AED arrived and Mitch was able to revive the patient who was then transported to a hospital for surgery and a full recovery.” This was part of the commendation read by Post Commander Steve Bradford (below) during the ceremony.

(L-R) Mitch Gannon, Commander Bradford, Post 47 Adjutant Walter McGrath, and Fire Captain John Gagnon who was standing in for Fire Chief Cassidy.
Post Adjutant McGrath reads the Citation that accompanied the Medal.

As you can see, the ceremony took place at the Holliston Fire Headquarters. This location was chosen because both Mitch and his wife, Joanna, are MassPort firefighters. Before joining the MassPort department, Joanna, was a member of Holliston’s Engine 1 crew serving with CPT Gagnon. The Gannons met at MassPort and each do two 24 shifts each week.

Mitch’s wife and children, assisted by Grandfather Pete Westland pin on the Medal.
(L-R) Kriss Westland (Joanna’s mother), Fire LT Brian Grace, Joanna Gannon (holding Heidi), Mitch Gannon (holding John), Commander Bradford, Adjutant McGrath, Fire CPT Gagnon, and Pete Westland.

Mitch, Kriss, and Pete are fairly new members of Post 47. They joined as part of the Post’s effort to get to 100 members by the end of this year which is the Legion’s 100th anniversary. Currently the Post’s membership roll stands at 91 – there must be nine more veterans in town who want to join this venerable institution.

Thank you Mitch, and all first responders for answering the call no matter where you are and where you are going.

Chris Cain


  1. Mary Greendale on January 25, 2020 at 10:01 am

    What a heartwarming story. Thank you to Mitch for his immediate action. Thanks to him and Joanna for being part of the public service community. And thanks to the Legion and Holliston Reporter for letting us know.

    • Kerry Mangan on January 25, 2020 at 10:45 am


  2. Nancy Karis on January 25, 2020 at 7:14 pm

    Great story! with a happy ending thanks to the action of of Lt. Mitch Gannon. It would have been easier to turn the matter over to airport officials, or to move along and hope that the man was just sleeping, but Mitch set aside his own schedule and took action that likely saved a life.
    That’s heroism!

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