BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Louisiana National Guard gathered its troops at the Armed Forces Reserve Center on GSRI Road Friday. It was not a mobilization, but military brass flew in from New Orleans for the occasion.
The US Department of Defense was bestowing a medal on a deserving Guardsman, Captain Andrew Gremillion.
The Ascension Parish part-time deputy had worked 10 and a half years before enlisting with the Louisiana Army National Guard. That meant that there were Ascension Parish deputies, on and off-duty, also in the crowd today.
A breeze blew over a green grass lawn as officials told everyone about the day, February 19th, 2014, when Gremillion was in the parking lot of church with his wife and son when they heard a heavy splash in a nearby canal.
Andrew's wife Laura noted in her account of the day that he threw down his wallet and cell phone as he ran top-speed to the canal. He was ready to dive in no matter how deep the water was.
As it was, Gremillion waded through waist deep water, topping the windows of a older woman's car. She was frantic. He pulled her out through the open window and carried her to shore. In her panic, she thought maybe her grandchildren were still in the car. He went back to look for them, but turns out she had d ropped them off earlier.
Gremillion told the Baton Rouge crowd today that the woman's hug was vice-like she was so frightened. He later said she hugged him equally hard even though the crisis had passed to say "thank you".
As Gremillion's family looked on, wife Laura, their sons and Andy's parents, he stood at the podium wearing the Soldier's Medal that was newly-pinned to his chest and said, "I think that thing that I think about the most, I guess, is after I got finished getting out of the water, my son said, 'Mommy, my Daddy saved that lady's life'. But what I did have to explain to him, the men and women who wear this uniform or wear the law enforcement uniform do this on a daily basis ."
Gremillion should know, as he works as both a sheriff's deputy and a National Guardsman.