PRIVATE Ferdinand Augustine Trench marched smartly up to the dais and saluted Governor General Sir Patrick Allen before receiving the Badge of Honour for Gallantry at King's House yesterday.
There was sustained applause from an appreciative crowd for the
27-year-old Hanover native who was recognised for the brave act of saving the life of a young man on Independence Day, August 6, last year.
On that day while journeying to Kingston from Portland via the Junction road the soldier, who has served the Jamaica Defence Force for six years, came up on a traffic pile-up.
Always ready to resolve a crisis, Trench came out the vehicle in which he was travelling to determine the cause of the roadblock.
"When I came upon a section of the road I heard somebody hollering for help. I asked what was the issue and was told a gentleman had fallen down the precipice," Trench explained.
Two other men had ventured down into the precipice which Trench said was about 100 feet deep, but were unable to help the man in danger.
The quick-thinking private began to devise a plan to rescue the man and started stopping vehicles to get materials that could be of help.
"The first items I received were two pieces of seat belt which proved to be of great assistance. I attached the seat belts together and threw them down to the persons down there," he said.
After receiving some rope and a flashlight from passing motorists, Trench made a knot with the rope and dropped it down into the deep precipice. "I told him to put the rope under both of his arms and then started pulling him to where I was standing. We pulled him three different times before he reached the road," he said.
The soldier with help from other citizens eventually brought the grateful man from down the precipice. After a quick check to find where he was hurt, the injured man, named Stephen Gabbidon, was taken to hospital.
"I visited him and his family and we are now very good friends. In fact, this coming weekend he is getting married," Trench revealed.
Assisting people in distress has become somewhat of a calling for Trench who says he is often in a position to help others whether on or off duty.
Just recently I was driving up Melrose Hill to Mandeville when I observed a car with fire in the engine. I always travel with a bottle of water [and I] used it to extinguish the blaze," said the graduate of Rusea's High School and who is from the district of Eaton in Hanover.