Cadet Senior Airman Blake R. Thompson, a Pine-Richland High School junior, was awarded the Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps Silver Valor Award on November 22. The Silver Valor Award is the second-highest award a cadet can receive and is awarded for a voluntary act of heroism. Blake was nominated for saving a swimmer from drowning this summer.
On June 23, Blake reacted and leapt into action, with total disregard for his own safety, to help save the life of a stranger who had become caught in rough waters and a riptide off the shores of Bethany Beach, Delaware. Blake saw a man in obvious distress and immediately swam from the safety of shallower water toward the individual and, upon reaching him, assisted in stabilizing the man onto a surfboard. While in rough water and fighting off the riptide, Blake stayed with the individual in distress, reassuring him that additional help was on the way. Once the lifeguards arrived, everyone swam back to the safety of the shoreline. Once there, Blake was thanked by the lifeguards for his quick thinking and efforts to help someone he did not know.
Blake was recognized in a ceremony at Pine-Richland High School. Representatives for Conor Lamb and Rob Mercuri presented Blake with citations. Fellow JROTC cadets, Blake’s family, a representative from the American Legion, and Pine-Richland administrators were all in attendance to recognize and celebrate Blake’s achievement.