r By Steven FairbournrrUtah’s Gov. Gary Herbert presented the Utah Cross to a Utah Guard member at the state Capitol’s Gold Room in December.
Sgt. 1st Class Brett Heath, a Manila resident and gunnery sergeant for C Battery, 1st Battalion, 145th Field Artillery in Spanish Fork, was selected to receive the Utah Cross for his actions of bravery when he came upon a home ablaze in 2013.
Heath was first on the scene when he came upon the house fire en route to his home. He quickly assisted the homeowner in ensuring no one was inside the home, turned off the propane feed to the home and remained in the hazardous area assisting in fighting the fire when only two volunteer firefighters arrived.
While fighting the fire, Heath was struck in the eye by shrapnel from an explosion, losing sight in his right eye. Following surgery and therapy, he has regained partial vision since the incident.
The 19-year veteran has deployed twice in the service of our state and nation, first in support of Operation Noble Eagle 2002-2003 and second in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2007-2008, but his service obviously continues here at home each and every day.
The Utah Cross is second in the order of merit for Utah Guard awards and is presented to those who distinguish themselves by voluntarily subjecting themselves to danger or extraordinary responsibilities with praiseworthy fortitude and exemplary courage above and beyond the call of duty.