The Irish Emigrant newspaper, in partnership with IrishCentral.com and Irish America magazine, will be holding its third annual Irish Heroes of New England awards in Boston on Wednesday, December 3.
Officer James Flanagan is being honored with an Irish Heroes of New England award in recognition of his service and heroic actions as a police officer for the town of Weymouth.
In 2013, the policeman was involved in a early morning high speed chase through several towns before the car they were pursuing crashed and burst into flames. Without thinking of his own safety, Flanagan, a native of County Roscommon rushed to the aid of the driver and after several harrowing minutes managed to smash his way into the vehicle and save the man from the flaming wreck.
For this act of heroism and bravery, the father of four was awarded with the highly prestigious Robert P Dana distinguished Service Award by the Norfolk County District Attorney Michael W Morrissey. This is the highest award that Massachusetts Police Officers can receive. He has also received an award from the Mayor of Weymouth, Susan Kay, in addition to other numerous awards and citations.
Recalling the events and his heroism, Flanagan humbly says "I was just doing my job. That is what I signed up for."
One of 15 children, Flanagan, a native of Co. Roscommon, left school before finishing High school to start working to help supplement the family income. Flanagan emigrated to America in 1986 and says "I came here [America] because I believed that I had the opportunity to make a better life for myself."
One of the very first things the Irishman did was to return to school on the South Shore. After spending several years attending a night school whilst working full-time, he eventually graduated from Quincy College and took the civil service test to become a Police Officer.
"I always wanted to be a Police Officer. I think that I got my love for the profession from my grandfather who was a Police Officer in Chicago."
Flanagan dreams soon became a reality when in 2000 he was hired as a full time Police Officer for the town of Weymouth. The determined family man continued taking weekend classes and eventually earned his Master’s Degree in Criminal Justice.
Over the last fourteen years, the Irishman has worked tirelessly serving the community and currently, the 51-year-old is the resource officer to Weymouth Middle School students.
The job involves helping students in grades five through eight deal with issues, including bullying, online and personal safety, social media abuse and alcohol and drug awareness, that become more prominent in the middle school years.
A position he says is "a different kind of challenge but a very rewarding one."
Speaking about being honored with this award, Flanagan said “I have to say that I am honored and humbled to have been chosen for this award and it is something that I will cherish forever."
The awards will be presented at a reception and awards ceremony to be held in downtown Boston. Diaego/Guinness and its “Made of More” campaign will be a main supporter of the event. If you would like to find out more about the event please email [email protected] or call 617-268-8322.