By Debbie Adams
JROTC Cadet /Captain Ashton Hunter Burns was awarded the Air Force Junior ROTC Silver Valor Award at the Byrd football game on October 22. Burns is a member of AFJROTC Unit VA-061 at Patrick Henry High School in Roanoke and a student at William Byrd High School. (Roanoke County Schools partner with Roanoke City Schools for the JROTC program.)
This recognition is awarded to a cadet for a voluntary act of heroism and consists of a medal, ribbon, and certificate.
A description of Burns’ actions state that, “During a volunteer shift at a local community center, Cadet/Captain Burns ran to the scene of a nearby house fire to provide assistance. When he arrived, Cadet Burns found the first floor of the house fully engulfed in flames and no emergency personnel present. He immediately jumped into action. When he saw a man standing inside one of the second story windows, Cadet Burns encouraged the man to jump to safety, pulled him away from the burning house, and ensured a reinjured stomach wound did not get worse. Cadet Burns next provided first aid to a woman who injured her arm busting out windows at the house. When power lines to the house started to pop and spark, he directed everyone present to move away from the house. He also helped move several young children away from the fire. He did all this before emergency personnel arrived and took control of the scene. The heroic actions of Cadet Burns, without regard to his own personal safety, reflect credit upon himself and Air Force Junior ROTC.”
The presentation was made to Cadet Burns by Lt. Col. Steven H. Boyd, USAF (retired). He is the Senior Aerospace Science Instructor for JROTC Unit VA-061 at the Roanoke Technical Education Center (ROTEC) in Roanoke.
Boyd pinned the medal on Cadet Burns, citing his “voluntary acts of heroism during a neighborhood house fire on July 20, 2020.”