Hero Coach Who Disarmed and Hugged Student Awarded by Congressional Medal of Honor Society
An Oregon high school football and track coach has been further recognized for heroically disarming a student nearly one year ago.
Keanon Lowe’s actions garnered national attention after security footage of the interaction went viral.
On March 25, he was honored with the Single Act of Heroism Award from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, further solidifying his status as a hero.
According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website, Lowe was “selected for his courageous act when he disarmed a student with a loaded shotgun during an incident at Parkrose High School in Portland, Oregon.
“Mr. Lowe is attributed with saving the lives of the students and faculty of Parkrose High school.”
The award is given to somebody who displays qualities of “courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship, and patriotism,” the society says.
Lowe heroically displayed each of these characteristics when he took a potentially deadly situation into his own hands, and changed the outcome for the better.
When I signed up to be a Security Guard, Football and Track & Field Coach for Parkrose High School, I did so to guide and coach young people whose shoes I had once been in. I had no idea, that I would one day have to put my life on the line like I did yesterday for my students.
— Keanon Lowe (@KeanonLowe) May 18, 2019
Police said that n May 17, 2019, 18-year-old Angel Granados-Diaz came to school with a shotgun loaded with only one round, apparently intent on ending his own life in front of his peers.
“I saw the look in his face, look in his eyes, looked at the gun, realized it was a real gun, and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe said at the time.
Lowe quickly managed to disarm the student before passing the weapon off to another staff member.
With his arm already around Granados-Diaz’s shoulders, he then brought the student in for an emotional embrace as he led the teen away from the classroom where he intended on taking his life.
Surveillance footage of Lowe’s heroism was released five months later, in October.
Watch the video below:
“Then it was just me and that student. It was a real emotional time. It was emotional for him, it was emotional for me. In that time, I felt compassion for him. A lot of times, especially when you’re young, you don’t realize what you’re doing until it’s over,” Lowe said in May, according to KATU.
KSAZ-TV reported Granados-Diaz was struggling with mental health issues after he and his girlfriend went through a breakup.
He told authorities that he planned on committing suicide at school because he didn’t want his mother to find his body at their home.
Granados-Diaz, now 19, was sentenced to three years of probation, as well as immediate mental health treatment, on Oct. 10.
His fate is much less severe than if Lowe had not been there to save his life.
Lowe earned the award due to his heroic display of courage, sacrifice and integrity, among many other characteristics.
He no doubt acted on impulse, without thinking about himself or the recognition he would receive for it.
He did it to give the student another chance at life.
Traditionally, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society awards citizen honorees in an official ceremony, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s ceremony has been postponed.
Still, the society wanted to recognize Lowe, along with other honorees, for their outstanding actions on March 25, which was National Medal of Honor Day.
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