Former Deerfield police officer receives heroism award for rescue in Pakistan
DEERFIELD — A former Deerfield police officer has received the Award for Heroism from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for his courageous actions during a terrorist attack on a motorcade traveling through Pakistan in 2011.
Christopher Bilodeau, a special agent with the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, was recognized recently for going to the aid of two other special agents who were trapped inside a heavily damaged, burning vehicle after an improvised explosive device exploded a few feet from his motorcade.
Bilodeau was driving in the motorcade, which was traveling through Peshawar, when the vehicle in front of his was severely damaged by the explosion, according to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security. Along with three others, he ran to the other two agents, moving them to safety. Bilodeau, who is also a paramedic, assessed the agents’ injuries.
Peshawar is known as one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Bilodeau had been serving a yearlong assignment in Peshawar.
“All four of the DSS special agents performed masterfully in one of the most significant terrorist attacks against Foreign Service personnel in recent years,” said Bill Miller, deputy assistant secretary for high-threat posts in the Bureau of Diplomatic Security.
“I am humbled to be recognized for what happened that day,” Bilodeau said. “We had to take care of each other. That was our job and that’s what we did.”
Bilodeau grew up in Deerfield and is the son of Douglas Bilodeau, who owns Douglas Auctioneers in South Deerfield.
He graduated from Frontier Regional School, attended Greenfield Community College and received a bachelor’s degree from Western New England College.
He has worked in public safety his entire life, serving as a volunteer firefighter and paramedic for Deerfield and South Deerfield, as well as working full-time in Springfield as a paramedic and in Agawam as a full-time firefighter before becoming a police officer.
Bilodeau left the Deerfield Police Department in 2008 to become a U.S. Department of State special agent. Special agents are assigned a variety of duties in the United States and abroad, including criminal investigations, dignitary and VIP protection and security of diplomatic missions.
Bilodeau has also served in the DSS Boston field office and is currently assigned to DSS headquarters in the Washington, D.C., area.