Posted Monday, September 15th, 2014

A U.S. Marine Sergeant and former Jefferson resident who lost his legs in an explosion in Afghanistan, was honored Sept. 8 for his courage by the Morris County Freeholders.

Sgt. Aaron Alonso was a guest at a Leadership Under Fire seminar at the Morris County Public Safety Training Academy that addressed the critical thinking that is inherent for first responders to maintain during times of natural and man-madeFreeholders Honor Wounded Jefferson Marine disasters.

Alonso was injured by an improvised explosive device while on patrol in Afghanistan in February. He had both of his legs amputated and also suffered extensive abdominal injuries.

Speaking to the seminar’s attendees, Freeholder Director Tom Mastrangelo said the many freedoms we have come to enjoy were won over the years by the courageous actions of many Americans like Sergeant Alonso.

“I refer, not only to his actions in Afghanistan, where he suffered critical, life-threatening injuries while serving his country, but also to the strong resolve he continues to demonstrate today on his road to recovery,” Mastrangelo said.

Mastrangelo also took note of Alonso’s support network, including his wife, Jessica, and her parents, Scott and Anne Douglas.

“For many of our wounded servicemen and women, the long road to recovery can be very lonely,” Mastrangelo said, “but thanks to his wonderful support network, Sergeant Alonso does not have to travel that road alone.”

The freeholder director also recognized Captain Ben Harrow, a decorated Army Officer of the Green Berets who was a seminar presenter. Captain Harrow lost his legs and suffered other life-threatening injuries when he stepped on an IED in Afghanistan.

“On behalf of the Morris County Freeholders, I offer sincere gratitude to both Sergeant Alonso and Captain Harrow for their service and for being a source of inspiration for all to emulate,” Mastrangelo said.

The Leadership Under Fire Seminar was sponsored by the Morris County Office of Emergency Management and Atlantic Health System Protection and Security Services/Emergency Management Department.