HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. – As a historic blizzard battered Massachusetts in the early hours of Feb. 9, soldiers from the Massachusetts National Guard’s Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment, assisted Worcester emergency medical services personnel in delivering a baby.
Army Sgt. Kenneth Hickey said he, Army Spc. Joshua Catalano and Army Spc. Derek Demelo were assisting Worcester EMS with their operations and supporting the city by using their military field ambulance to access areas unreachable with the city ambulances.
"This is an outstanding example of the strong partnership between the National Guard and local emergency responders,” said Air Force Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, Massachusetts adjutant general. “Together, with the encouraging support of the citizens we serve, we find great strength in our mission.
The soldiers received a call to assist Ericka Bueno, who had gone into labor around 2:30 a.m. and called 911. Within 10 minutes, EMS personnel arrived at her home.
“It was quickly determined that the woman would not reach the hospital before giving birth and must deliver at home,” Hickey said. EMS personnel delivered the baby girl, named Nohely, around 3 a.md.
The soldiers did all they could to assist EMS in their efforts by shoveling the walkway to provide a clear access to the woman’s home and assisting with transporting materials needed for a successful delivery. Shortly after the delivery, the Guardsmen assisted the Worcester medical team with getting Ericka, her baby, and her boyfriend, Joel Gonell, into the ambulance to transport them to the hospital.
“I’m really grateful for them,” Gonell said. “They really helped a lot. They actually ensured that we made it to the hospital safely.”
The National Guard soldiers helped to fix the stretcher and had to clear a path for the stretcher to be wheeled from the house to the ambulance, Gonell said. After the baby and her family were safely inside the ambulance, they made their way to the hospital with the National Guard following behind them the entire way.
“It was definitely a blessing to have them there,” Bueno said. “It’s just good to know that we had so many people behind us -- that it wasn’t just the EMTs, that we had the National Guard there. I was just a regular person giving birth, and they went and they shoveled us out and they made sure that we made it to the hospital.
“When my daughter grows up, I’m going to let her know that we had a lot of very supportive, important people there to make sure that she got to the hospital safely,” she added.