Local Man Honored By AEDC

Kirk Rutland, left, receives the U.S. Navy Superior Civilian Award for Valor from Naval Air Systems Command division head for power plant and propulsion Thomas Weiss. Rutland received the award for rushing to help rescue a boy from a burning car in June. (Photo by Rick Goodfriend)

Dozens of people gathered to see Kirk Rutland honored in a ceremony at AEDC recently. Rutland, a Navy employee and technical director of the Test Systems Sustainment Division at AEDC, received the Navy’s Superior Civilian Award for Valor for his heroism after a vehicle wreck June 17 in Manchester. Rutland was cutting grass on the day the wreck happened near his home. An SUV traveling on Gowen Road left the road, hit a tree and rolled back onto the pavement. The woman driving the vehicle was able to get out, but her 8-year-old son was pinned inside as the vehicle’s engine caught on fire. Rutland and a passerby hurried to help. “There wasn’t any hesitation about what we should do,” Rutland said. The passerby, Jason Little, worked to free the child while Rutland used a fire extinguisher to keep the flames at bay. Not long after they freed the boy and were getting away from the vehicle, there was a popping sound and it was soon engulfed in flames. The SUV was destroyed, but thanks to Rutland and Little, the boy escaped with only scratches and burns.