Southeast Region cadets Daniel and Gage Stephens awarded Silver Medal of Valor
Sunday, December 21, 2014

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c/A1C Richard G. Stephens, front left, and c/SSgt Franklin D. Stephens, second from left, receive the Silver Medal of Valor, the highest award Civil Air Patrol can bestow, from Southeast Region Vice Commander Col. Barry Melton, right, as Georgia Wing Commander Col. Richard Greenwood, who is also a recipient of the Silver Medal of Valor, looks on.  (Civil Air Patrol Photo by Maj. Jonathan Lartigue, CAP)


Ellijay, GA Two brothers in the Ellijay Composite Squadron were awarded Civil Air Patrol’s highest decoration - the Silver Medal of Valor - on Tuesday, Dec. 16, at a ceremony attended by Georgia Wing and Southeast Region officials as well as local and state dignitaries.   

Cadet A1C Richard Gage Stephens and his brother c/SSgt Franklin Daniel Stephens received the award from Southeast Region Vice Commander Col. Barry Melton and Georgia Wing Commander Col. Richard Greenwood, who is himself a recipient of the Silver Medal of Valor.

The Silver Medal of Valor, the highest award CAP can bestow, is awarded for “distinguished and conspicuous heroic action, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of normal duty.”

Daniel and Gage Stephens earned the award for their actions on January 28, 2014, while hiking near their home when they witnessed a Ford F-150 pickup lose control on snow and ice covered roads and slide down a mountainside with as steep as an 80 percent grade.  The driver, 56-year-old Kathy Hall of Cherry Log, was struck on the head and thrown down the mountainside while attempting to exit the unstable vehicle.

Daniel and Gage, who had just completed CAP’s first-aid course the week prior to the accident, climbed along the mountainside to assist the victim, placing themselves below the unstable vehicle at great personal risk, to render aid.  Daniel, exposing himself to below-freezing temperatures, used his coat and gloves to keep the victim warm while his brother Gage went to notify authorities and retrieve blankets.  

The inclement weather and poor road conditions delayed emergency responders from reaching the scene for more than an hour.  Remaining calm throughout the incident, the cadets, along with a neighbor, stayed with the victim to keep her warm and calm.  By the time emergency personnel arrived, the cadets had immobilized the head and spine of the victim, who had suffered a concussion, three broken ribs, and a severely fractured thoracic vertebra, an injury that can frequently lead to paralysis or death.  

“The actions of these two cadets exemplifies the true core values of the Civil Air Patrol,” said Ellijay Composite Squadron commander Capt. Lex Fisher.  “Those are Integrity, Volunteer Service, Excellence in all we do, and Respect.  As commander of the 507th, it’s an honor to have these two fine cadets in our squadron. I'm certain that their actions will only serve to inspire others in the years to come.”

Hall, who is recovering from her injuries and surgery to repair her broken vertebra, attributes an “amazing set of circumstances” and the help of her three neighbors for preventing more serious and permanent injury.  “Without them I don’t know what would’ve happened,” she told the Times-Courier of Gilmer County, Ga.  “I was in very good hands.”




c/A1C Richard G. Stephens, center, receives the citation for his Silver Medal of Valor, the highest award Civil Air Patrol can bestow, from Southeast Region Vice Commander Col. Barry Melton, left, and Georgia Wing Commander Col. Richard Greenwood, who is also a recipient of the Silver Medal of Valor.  (Civil Air Patrol Photo by Maj. Jonathan Lartigue, CAP)



CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR
c/A1C Richard G. Stephens, CAP, distinguished himself by conspicuous heroic action at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, at Cherry Log, Georgia, on 28 January 2014 by rendering aid to a woman who had lost control of her vehicle, driving it off a steep, snow-covered hill.
During this period, c/A1C Stephens demonstrated uncommon presence of mind by making his way over steep terrain to render aid to the injured party.  c/A1C Richard Stephens and his brother, c/SSgt Franklin Stephens, were hiking when they witnessed an F-150 lose control and drive over the side of a mountain.  c/A1C Richard Stephens, along with his brother, c/SSgt Franklin Stephens, used their training to remain calm and give emergency care to the individual until advanced care could arrive.  c/A1C Richard Stephens notified emergency services of the event and brought blankets to keep the victim warm.  c/A1C Richard Stephens risked his life by making his way nearly 100 feet down the hill, placing himself below the vehicle, which was resting, unstabilized, above the injured party, c/A1C Stephens, and his brother c/SSgt Stephens.

Through his singularly courageous heroism and selfless regard for his fellowmen, c/A1C Stephens has reflected the highest credit upon himself and Civil Air Patrol.



CITATION TO ACCOMPANY THE SILVER MEDAL OF VALOR
c/SSgt Franklin D. Stephens, CAP, distinguished himself by conspicuous heroic action at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, at Cherry Log, Georgia, on 28 January 2014 by rendering aid to a woman who had lost control of her vehicle, driving it off a steep, snow-covered hill.

During this period, c/A1C Stephens demonstrated uncommon presence of mind by making his way over steep terrain to render aid to the injured party.  
c/SSgt Stephens used his training to remain calm and give emergency care to the individual until advanced care could arrive.  c/SSgt Stephens risked his life by climbing nearly 100 feet down a mountain, placing himself below the vehicle, which was resting, unstabilized, above c/SSgt Stephens and the injured party.  c/SSgt Stephens further risked his personal safety by exposing himself to the elements when he used his coat and gloves to keep the injured party warm.  By the time emergency personnel had arrived, c/SSgt Stephens had immobilized the woman’s back and spine to prevent further injury.

Through his singularly courageous heroism and selfless regard for his fellowmen, c/SSgt Stephens has reflected the highest credit upon himself and Civil Air Patrol.



Capt. Donald Murray, public affairs officer for the Ellijay Composite Squadron, also contributed to this article.


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Civil Air Patrol, the longtime all-volunteer U.S. Air Force auxiliary, is the newest member of the Air Force’s Total Force. In this role, CAP operates a fleet of 560 aircraft, performs about 90 percent of continental U.S. inland search and rescue missions as tasked by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center and is credited by the AFRCC with saving an average of 80 lives annually. CAP’s 57,000 members also perform homeland security, disaster relief and drug interdiction missions at the request of federal, state and local agencies. CAP also plays a leading role in aerospace/STEM education, and its members serve as mentors to 24,000 young people participating in CAP’s Cadet Programs. Visit www.GoCivilAirPatrol.com for more information.
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