A soldier at Fort Rucker, Ala. was recently awarded the Soldier’s Medal, one of the Army’s most distinguished decorations, for risking his life to save a local community member from a fire.
Spc. Kevin Killens Jr., a firefighter with the 6th Military Police Detachment, was presented the award for his heroism during a ceremony at Fort Rucker on Jan. 5, according to a service release.
Killens’ award stems from his courageous actions taken back in May 2021, when he and another local emergency responder rescued a man from a structural fire before other first responders were able to arrive on the scene.
“I appreciate that the Army gave me the skillset and the training to really be able to handle those stressful situations and know…I can rely on that, and then just keep my mind in the zone,” Killens, who finds the time to volunteer with a local fire and rescue team on the weekends, said in the release.
“It turned out to be a big success, thank God, he said. “We did what we could to do good for others.”
After completing a 12-hour volunteer shift providing emergency medical support to the community of Daleville, Ala., then-Pfc. Killens and his partner noticed the flames and were quickly able to enter the blazing building from the rear, dragging the unnamed man 100 yards away to safety. After administering life-saving aid, the pair contacted local authorities to rush him to the nearest hospital.
“It’s not enough to save a life. You have to save a life at the risk of your own,” Maj. Gen. Michael C. McCurry, Fort Rucker’s commander, said in the release.
The Soldier’s Medal — established by an act of Congress in 1926 — is awarded to anyone in the Army or the armed forces of a friendly foreign nation who distinguishes themselves by heroism that does not involve actual conflict with an enemy.
Jonathan is a staff writer and editor of the Early Bird Brief newsletter for Military Times. Follow him on Twitter @lehrfeld_media