A 17-Year-Old’s Courageous Act Earns Him Highest Honor in U.S. Army’s JROTC Program

A 17-Year-Old’s Courageous Act Earns Him Highest Honor in U.S. Army’s JROTC Program

Cadet Second Lieutenant Kaheem Bailey-Taylor’s bravery and mission of wanting to help others recently earned the 17-year-old a Medal of Heroism, following his actions to save a friend’s life after last year’s shooting in North Philadelphia. 

The unthinkable event occurred in August 2022 when Bailey-Taylor attended a birthday party for a family member. Moments after leaving the festivities, gunshots broke out, and Bailey-Taylor headed back to the residence. 

News outlets reported that while assessing the chaotic situation, which left four wounded victims ranging in age from 15 to 18 years old, Bailey-Taylor briefly tended to the three individuals before helping a friend and JROTC classmate with life-threatening injuries from a gunshot wound to the stomach. 

While applying pressure to his friend’s wound in an attempt to stop the bleeding, Bailey-Taylor also kept the victim alert by talking to him before the paramedics came. When the ambulance arrived, Bailey-Taylor assisted the medical professionals and ensured his friend made it to the hospital safely. Because of Bailey-Taylor’s actions, his friend survived. In December of that same year, a teenage male was apprehended in connection to the crime. 

The following month, on Jan. 6, a special ceremony was held at the Philadelphia Military Academy to honor Bailey-Taylor. During the event, he was presented with the Medal of Heroism. According to the U.S. Army, this award is given to individuals that “perform an act of heroism” in a dangerous situation.

Following the ceremony, in an interview with Fox 29, Bailey-Taylor credited the JROTC for helping him obtain the skills to act promptly in any dire situation. He said, “If it wasn’t for ROTC, I probably wouldn’t have known what I was doing.” Bailey-Taylor’s mother and biggest supporter, Chantel Taylor, expressed how proud she was of her son, while sharing how grateful the victim’s mother was for his actions.

She stated, “‘Tell your son, thank you, he saved my son’s life. My son might not be here if it wasn’t for him.’ You know, he is who he is. That’s my shining star.”

Aside from being a shining star, Bailey-Taylor plans to graduate from the program very soon and pursue a career in homeland security.