SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — Spc. Sam Keenan, a photo journalist with the 65th Press Camp Headquarters of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, aided employees from Homeca Recycling and a local firefighter to tame a fire until more help arrived on scene, on Nov. 15 in Loíza, Puerto Rico.
Keenan was on his way back from documenting an Air Force security forces team when he spotted a large cloud of black smoke and wanted to make sure everyone was okay.
“As a public affairs specialist, my initial reaction was to see if there was a story to cover there, it’s what we do, we are journalists. But once I got there and I realized there was no professional firefighter on sight, that they may need a hand in putting out the flames” said Keenan.
Once on the scene the employees of Homeca Recycling were using small garden hoses to try and get the fire under control and when the first fire truck with a lone firefighter pulled up, Keenan grabbed a hose and continued to help.
Keenan is from Dorchester, Massachusetts and attended Norwich University, The Military College where he received Navy ROTC training. During the training he learned basic firefighting skills because when on a ship everyone is a firefighter due to the fact that rescue squads usually cannot come to their aid.
“I was just doing my job, I have a little bit of fire fighting training and it looked like they needed some help, I’m just glad everything turned out okay” said Keenan.
Once the fire fighters had things under control Keenan picked up his camera and proceeded to document the events that were unfolding. After taking photos Keenan and I coordinated distributing water to the firefighters and employees.
Keenan has been a photo journalist with the Massachusetts Army National Guard since November 2015 and exemplifies what it means to be a citizen soldier.