Ellis Parlier, Riley Howell

On Wednesday, March 25, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society named UNC Charlotte's Riley Howell as one of the 24 different honorees for 2020. He will be honored with the Single Act of Heroism Award.

The award is to be given to the Howell family in Riley’s honor, who have expressed their gratitude yet still hold credence that the events of April 30 should never have happened. However, the ceremony is to be postponed in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Riley’s mother, Natalie Howell, said in regard to this, “I am accepting it on behalf of all the people who have also needlessly lost their lives to gun violence.”

Of the 24 recipients, three of them, including Howell, were also involved in school shooting incidents. 

The honor is normally bestowed upon those in active duty military combat who willingly perform acts of courage, bravery and overall heroism.

Riley’s father, Thomas Howell, stated that his son’s act was that of essentially combat and that it was not fair for such a young man to have to put his life on the line. 

Howell is to be honored with this award for his courageous and selfless acts on April 30, 2019 when he sacrificed himself in an attempt to stop the gunman that opened fire on his class. While this act cost Howell his life, it saved the lives of many others. 

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society stated that Howell “exemplifies the values embodied in the Medal of Honor: courage, sacrifice, commitment, integrity, citizenship and patriotism.”

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