Uvalde students to receive national award for actions during mass shooting


(GRAPEVINE, Texas) — Three former Robb Elementary School students are receiving a national award Monday for their actions during the deadly mass shooting in Uvalde, Texas.

The 9-1-1 Youth Hero Award is being given to Miah Cerrillo, Khloie Torres and Amerie Jo Garza at the 2023 National Emergency Number Association (NENA) conference in Grapevine, Texas.

Garza, who did not survive the mass shooting, is receiving the award posthumously for attempting to dial 911 before she was shot. Cerrillo and Torres survived by pretending to be dead and calling 911 after an 18-year-old gunman killed their two teachers and several classmates.

The award is being presented by the non-profit organization 9-1-1 For Kids and is sponsored by the tech company NICE.

The 9-1-1 Youth Hero Award will be presented to the survivors and Garza’s family by Tim Brown, a Pro Football Hall of Famer and former Raiders wide receiver. Brown is also the international chairman of 9-1-1 For Kids.

“To bring these kids on stage and to give them an award and to pat them on the back and tell them that what they did was honorable, what they did was courageous, it goes a long way,” Brown told ABC News.

Charles Cullen, incoming president for NENA, said he worked in law enforcement for 28 years and managed 911 centers, but never encountered a story like that of the three Robb students.

“This particular incident is heartbreaking, and what those kids went through, and the courage that they showed in unfathomable circumstances, and the fact that they were able to call 911 with this killer in the room and get through at 10 or 11-years-old is amazing to me, and we do want to recognize them,” Cullen told ABC News.

Brown said he is honored to present the award to the girls and Garza’s family and believes all three girls are heroes.

“I was in the league back when The Gulf War started and we made a pact in our locker room, that we weren’t going to call ourselves soldiers and warriors and those kinds of terms anymore because now that meant something totally different,” Brown said. “And I think when you look at what these young ladies have done, I don’t think any athlete or any regular person could ever think of themselves as a hero after what these kids have gone through … If you want to call anybody a hero going forward, you should start with these young ladies.”

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