WORCESTER - The Worcester chapter of the Military Order of World Wars (MOWW) honored Sgt. Jon Kalagher of the Westborough Police Department with the Silver Patrick Henry – Law and Order Award during a ceremony hosted at Veterans Inc. last week.
The motto of the MOWW is, “It is nobler to serve than to be served,” and this is best exemplified by the heroism that Kalagher displayed two years ago on Nov. 15, 2019, when Kalagher responded to a call that would forever change his life.
Dispatchers received a 911 call from Windsor Ridge Apartment Complex reporting that a man had stabbed his wife. The wounded woman fled to a neighbor’s apartment seeking shelter while the police arrived, but the man broke into the residence and proceeded to attack the woman again.
Upon Sgt. Kalagher’s arrival, he ordered the assailant to drop the weapon, but the man refused to comply. Kalagher was forced to make a split-second decision; he discharged his weapon and fatally shot the attacker. His precise shot amid chaos, eliminated the threat of the attacker without further injuring the seriously wounded victim. It was later revealed that the attacker was armed with two knives.
The incident marked the first time that Kalagher had ever discharged his weapon during his 30 years in law enforcement.
Dan Anderson, retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Army and commander of the Worcester Chapter of MOWW, presented the Silver Patrick Henry Award to Kalagher and described how the Sergeant’s decisive actions and courage saved the woman’s life.
“In recognition of his brave, heroic and swift action, MOWW Worcester Chapter is proud to confer the Silver Patrick Henry- Law and Order Award to Sergeant Jon Kalagher of the Westborough Police Department,” Anderson said.
Kalagher was overcome with emotion and gratitude as he thanked the veterans for their recognition.
“I cannot tell you how humbled and grateful I feel standing here before the distinguished veterans in this room,” Kalagher said.
Kalagher said that the timing of the award came at a very emotional time in his life. He found out that he was the Silver Patrick Henry Award recipient around the same time that he had retired from the police force.
“I had retired at that time, and I was dealing with the emotions associated with that, and also dealing with the roller coaster of emotions associated with being involved with the critical incident that I am acknowledged for today,” Kalagher said.
Nearly two years after the attack, Kalagher still lives with the images of seeing the woman stabbed by her husband and the feelings associated with the violent attack that night.
Referring to the MOWW’s motto about service, Kalagher reflected on his decades in law enforcement.
“I cannot tell you what an honor it was for me to serve the citizens of Westborough and all those that I came into contact with over the course of my 32-year career in law enforcement," Kalagher said to the veterans and military heroes who honored him. "I would be remiss if I did not thank each and every one of you for your military service as well."
Lead image: (R to L) Retired judge Charles Abdella, Sgt. Jon Kalagher of the Westborough Police Department, and Francis Leahy of the Military Order of World Wars during the Silver Patrick Henry Award ceremony at Veterans Inc. in Worcester/Sloane Perron for ThisWeekinWorcester.com.