Army to award three school shooting victims with Medals for Heroism
(CNN) — The US Army is awarding medals for heroism to three students killed in last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida.
Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque, all students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, were also cadets in the school’s Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps program and will receive the Medal of Heroism for their actions in last Wednesday’s shooting.
Petty’s family was presented with her medal at her funeral service Monday.
Alaina’s family said she was vibrant and determined. She had volunteered after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September.
“Alaina loved to serve,” the statement from her family said.
She was also a part of the “Helping Hands” program of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Wang’s family was due to receive his medal at his service Tuesday morning, where Wang was to be buried in his JROTC uniform, according to Army spokesman Michael Maddox.
“The JROTC Heroism medal will be on his uniform, but a second ‘keepsake’ medal,” will be given to the Wang family, Maddox said.
Peter Wang, a 15-year-old JROTC cadet, died in last week’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. According to his friends, he was shot repeatedly while holding a door open to let other people escape.
“He died a gentleman holding the door for other students,” his classmate Kelsey Friend told CNN. A friend of his family told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that Wang’s dream was to attend West Point and serve in the US military.
Duque’s family will be presented with his medal during a service on Saturday.
Miguel Duque mourned the loss of his younger brother, Martin, and set up a Go Fund Me page to help pay for funeral expenses.
“He was a very funny kid, outgoing, and sometimes really quiet. He was sweet and caring and loved by all his family. Most of all he was my baby brother,” Miguel said on the page.
Awards for other possible cadets are going through the review process. Maddox said the current focus is on “supporting the funerals and dignity and honor, so deserved by these cadets and their families.”
According to the Army, the Medal of Heroism is awarded to a JROTC cadet “who performs an act of heroism.”
“The achievement must be an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances,” according to the criteria laid out by the Army. “The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage.”
Seventeen people were killed in the shooting.