A Ceremony to Honor UCLA Heroes

Maj. Steve Kwon receives his medal from Maj. Gen. John Evans

“…This was a collective effort. You know, this is not an individual effort. We stand before you not as heroes, but as equals…heroes are everywhere in this room.”

On February 27, these were the words spoken by Major Steve Kwon who was very grateful and humbled to be presented with the Soldier’s Medal, a high honor given to military members who have demonstrated heroism off the battlefield. Kwon is a professor of Military Science here at UCLA. He has dedicated his life to the service and expressed that he just did what he was trained to do.

Kwon along with other members of UCLA’s Army ROTC including Major Tyrone Vargas, assistant professor of Military Science; Romeo Miguel, recruiting operations officer; and Victoria Sanelli, department manager, were recognized for their quick thinking and brave actions.  Major Vargas received an Army Commendation Medal; Mr. Miguel received the Civilian Superior Service Award; and Ms. Sanelli received a letter of commendation.

Victoria Sanelli, Maj. Steve Kwon, Romeo Miguel, and Maj. Tyrone Vargas

In April 2018, they were traveling back to UCLA’s campus via the 405 freeway when they noticed a semi-truck slam into the middle concrete barrier meant to separate traffic going the opposite direction. The impact sparked a fire. These four heroes leapt out of their vehicle to help. After assuring the safety of the truck driver, they noticed a burning vehicle trapped below the truck’s bed. Without hesitation, Major Kwon put his life at risk by pulling out the driver from this scorching car. Two lives were saved that day and their family and friends will forever by grateful.

This ceremony was made even more special because Major General John Evans, commander of U.S. Army Cadet Command, was in attendance to present the honors. He was touched by all their selfless acts of courage to help save the lives of strangers.

To view a part of the medal ceremony, click HERE.

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