Travis VanKuren, a high school student at Dallastown Area High School, Pennsylvania, was recently honored with a Citzen’s Award of Merit by the Police Heritage Museum for saving a woman from being abducted and raped. According to the York Dispatch, “it was the first citizen award ever bestowed by the Police Heritage Museum, which has been honoring York County’s top law enforcement officials every year since 2000. ”
The incident happened a year ago. VanKuren heard, “…a 42-year-old woman who was screaming for help in a Wal-Mart parking lot in Springettsbury Township on April 18, 2007. A man later identified as Joseph Simon Holt was trying to kidnap the woman and intended to rape her, said Springettsbury Township Police Chief David Eshbach.”
Although several bystanders heard her screams, no one responded. No one except for VanKuren, an athlete and member of the ROTC. He approached the man and asked what he was doing. The suspect, a convicted sex offender, ran away and was soon found by the police at a nearby bus stop. He later pled no contest to attempted rape – he was five years older than the 17-year old hero.
The Police Heritage Museum sums it up: “VanKuren’s willingness to risk his own safety and approach an unknown person in need more than likely saved the victim from a violent assault or worse.”
Travis intends to join the Marine Corps upon graduation.
Now try to tell me our future isn’t in good hands. Travis VanKuren, an ROTC cadet, athlete, and future Marine is our hero of the week.