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GCC taps Bilodeau as Distinguished Alum

When former Deerfield police officer Christopher Bilodeau, 39, got the call that he had been selected by the GCC Distinguished Alumni Committee to receive the 2013 award, his first words were “I am honored to have been chosen.”

That was no light remark from the person who in January 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.

Bilodeau, a special agent with the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service, was recognized in January 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 in Peshawar, Pakistan — one of the most dangerous, high threat cities in the world.

Bilodeau came to GCC in 2001 from Frontier Regional School. After completing GCC’s criminal justice program with honors, he transferred to Western New England College where he received his bachelor’s degree in law enforcement. He left the Deerfield Police Department in 2008 to become a U.S. Department of State special agent, assigned to duties in the United States and abroad, including criminal investigations, dignitary and VIP protection and security of diplomatic missions.

“Of all things I have done for my education and career, my time at GCC is the most memorable and important to me, and that is mostly because of (GCC law professor) Buz Eisenberg, a mentor whose lessons I took with me,” he said.

Eisenberg said that Bilodeau was “one of those always-prepared students. Even when we ideologically disagreed, we would not stop trying to understand the other’s reasoning until we owned it, and could express it. Chris was disciplined, reflective, and I fondly remember how he sharpened his considerable sense of humor by honing it on clever irony ... along with a wry smile and a twinkling eye.”

Bilodeau is now working stateside in the Diplomatic Security Command Center, the 24/7 worldwide communications and emergency coordination center. He lives in Maryland with his wife, Samantha, daughter Alex and son Emmett. He looks forward to beginning the next phase of his educational journey. This fall, Bilodeau will become a full-time student under his new assignment to study for his master’s degree at a Washington, D.C., area joint U.S. Military War College.

“Chris Bilodeau has distinguished himself in many ways,” commented GCC President Robert Pura. “When you look up the word ‘service’ in the dictionary you will find a picture of Chris. His service is to nation, community and family. GCC is pleased to recognize someone who is such a shining example of a civil servant.”

The GCC Alumni Association will confer the 2013 Distinguished Alumni award on Bilodeau, who will travel back to Greenfield for the occasion, on May 5.

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