UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. — An act of heroism, that's the criteria for one of the highest honors in the National Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps.
Friday afternoon, a Missouri teen was honored with the rare Silver Valor award.
Courage is carved on the entrance of University City High School and courage is what JROTC Cadet John Trotter showed on July 26, 2022.
In a citation, Air Force JROTC Director Johnny R. McGonigal writes, "During a historic flood Cadet Trotter was home surveying the situation when a neighbor across the street began screaming that her 5-year-old child was trapped in the basement."
Cadet Trotter told 5 On Your Side the story, "I ran outside and waded with the pan across the water and then I beat the ground in the best I could to make a hole."
He grabbed the hardest and biggest thing he could find, a cast-iron skillet.
Cadet Trotter said breaking through the floor and baseboards was difficult, but he broke through allowing the mom to see her 5-year-old child. Shortly after, University City Fire Department crews arrived on the scene and aided in the rescue.
For his courage, Cadet Trotter received the Air Force JROTC Silver Valor Award during a Veteran's Day service at University City High School.
"They are extremely rare," Robert A Jakcsy, Senior Aerospace Science Instructor tells 5 On Your Side, "Only a handful are given out every year."
Out of 850 units, and 120,000 cadets nationwide, it's a high honor for a select few and it might be the first in University City High School History.
"It's that rare," Jakcsy adds, "I don't know anyone else who has ever received the award."
Trotter says he is proud that he did what he could to save the child.