By Air Force Senior Airman Bonnie K. Harper
Massachusetts National Guard Public Affairs
HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. (2/9/13) – Massachusetts National Guard Soldiers pitched in during the blizzard to help bring a baby into the world in Worchester at 3 a.m. Saturday.
The Soldiers are from Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion, 181st Infantry Regiment.
Soldiers Sgt. Kenneth Hickey, Spc. Joshua Catalano, and Spc. Derek Demelo were assisting Worcester EMS with their operations during blizzard conditions. These soldiers were providing support to the city of Worcester by using their military field ambulance to access areas unreachable to the city ambulances, Hickey said.
"This is an outstanding example of the strong partnership between the National Guard and local emergency responders. Together, with the encouraging support of the citizens we serve, we find great strength in our mission," said Maj. Gen. L. Scott Rice, the state adjutant general.
After numerous response calls, they received a call to assist a woman going into labor. Ericka Bueno went into labor around 2:30 a.m. and called 911 shortly thereafter. Within 10 minutes, EMS personnel arrived at her home just as her water broke, Bueno said.
"Upon arriving on scene, it was quickly determined that the woman would not reach the hospital before giving birth and must deliver at home," Hickey said.
EMS delivered the girl, named Nohely, about 3 a.m. the mother said.
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 Bueno, her baby, and her boyfriend, Joel Gonell, into the ambulance to transport them to the hospital.
"I'm really grateful for them," Gonell. "They really helped a lot. They actually ensured that we made it to the hospital safely."
The National Guard Soldiers helped fix the stretcher and had to clear a path for the stretcher to be wheeled from the house to the ambulance, Joel 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," the new mom 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."