Nashua celebration in the works for Medal of Honor recipient
NASHUA — City officials are working with former Army Sgt. Ryan Pitts and his family to plan a hometown celebration for the Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
Although the plans are still preliminary, Mayor Donnalee Lozeau said she is hoping to find an appropriate way to recognize and honor the humble award winner from Nashua.
Pitts, 28, received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama on Monday, and was joined by Lozeau and Gov. Maggie Hassan for the White House ceremony.
“I would like to be respectful of the modesty he has shown with this award. To him, this award was not just for him or about him,” Lozeau said of Pitts. “We are extremely proud of him, and I personally found amazing inspiration at the ceremony. I want his feelings to come first.”
Lozeau said she is working with Pitts and his family to find an appropriate way to honor Pitts in the city.
“I think we would like to give him an opportunity to let this honor sink in a little bit and let the family regroup,” said Lozeau. “I know there are so many people at home that are anxious to thank Ryan in some way. Hopefully we can find an appropriate way to do that for him.”
Pitts is the ninth living recipient to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq or Afghanistan.
The 2003 graduate of Souhegan High School was a member of the 173rd, 2-503 Airborne in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province when he was seriously injured in the Battle of Wanat.
Nine American soldiers died and more than 25 others were seriously injured when they were forced to defend themselves against gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades launched by 200 Taliban insurgents.
Pitts sustained shrapnel wounds in his arms, legs and chest, but was able to delay the enemy long enough for help to arrive by whispering reports over the radio about insurgent positions, and providing instructions for helicopter gunships to engage the enemy to the north.
“It was just every man fighting with everything they had,” Pitts said at a recent news conference. “Valor was everywhere, and we carried the day together. The guys who came for me, I’m never going to be as good as them.”
Lozeau said at Monday’s ceremony Pitts was able to keep his composure while facing the families who lost loved ones in the Battle of Wanat.
“There was a young man, who when nobody was looking, was able to reach down deep and find something in himself to do what most of us would consider the impossible,” she said. “It was my honor to meet him.”