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Minnesota National Guard
Deploying Soldier saves neighbors from house fire

ALBERT LEA, Minn- Staff Sgt Kevin Clapper and his wife Tina were awakened by their son, Alex, early Wednesday morning who had noticed the light cast by their neighbor's burning house Kevin dialed 911 as Tina beat on the doors and threw rocks at the neighbor's windows to alert them to the danger Kevin then grabbed a ladder and performed a second-floor rescue The first window would not open "I moved to a second window," said Clapper "That opened, billowing smoke" Beth Sackson emerged followed by her fiancée Kristopher Schewe

Clapper's daughter, Spc Amber Steele, a medic with the 204th Area Support Medical Company, helped calm and clothe her neighbors "Amber moved so quick," said her mother TIna Clapper "She was up the ladder probably before it was up to the window"

"I'm so grateful for my husband and daughter's military training," said Tina "Their minds must have been moving at 100 miles per hour!"

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The Albert Lea Police and Fire Departments quickly arrived and eventually extinguished the large fire Lt Dennis Glassel of the Albert Lea Fire Department said the Clapper family's quick work probably saved two lives

The Clapper family house was damaged in the fire as well They lost part of their deck, a great deal of paint, and 4 windows were cracked

The Albert Lea area chapter of the Minnesota National Guard's Beyond the Yellow Ribbon program has already stepped forward to offer assistance to the Soldier's family This chapter is working toward certification from Gov Mark Dayton as an official Beyond the Yellow Ribbon Community

Clapper's Minnesota National Guard unit, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion, 135th Infantry, plans to officially recognize the Clapper family for their quick thinking action in saving their neighbor's lives

Clapper will deploy to Kuwait this summer with the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 34th Infantry Division in support of Operation New Dawn, the drawdown phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom

Albert Lea is just beginning the process of establishing a Yellow Ribbon network To learn how you can get involved contact the Mankato Family Assistance Center at 651-268-8413 or visit BeyondTheYellowRibbonorg

By Sgt. 1st Class Daniel Ewer
Minnesota National Guard Public Affairs
13 April, 2011

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