PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A Pine-Richland High School student is being called a hero.

He saved the life of a young girl and today, he was recognized for this brave actions.

Applause, hand-shakes, and hugs for Pine-Richland student, Zachary Maggi.

Today, the junior a cadet in the Air Force Junior ROTC received the prestigious Gold Valor Award.

“I’m a very proud father right now. It’s a little overwhelming to see your son standing up and being honored,” Roger Maggi said.

A lot of people are proud of Zachary for his actions back on June 23.

He was on vacation with his family in the Outer Banks, N.C.

He was on the beach when he heard a man yelling for someone to help his granddaughter. The girl was caught in a riptide.

“She was struggling, she was actually on her boogie board, which was carrying her out faster and I grabbed her and the boogie board and held her as high up as I could and swam back in,” Zachary said.

Zachary saved 11-year-old Zoey.

“He just threw himself out there. I mean, he could have been killed, he could have drowned out there along with the girl he was trying to save, but he didn’t even hesitate. He just ran right out there and took care of business,” Junior ROTC Chief Michael Gasparetto said.

On average, this award is normally only handed out once every two years. A cadet has to actually risk his or her life to even be considered.

“It is a very special, once-in-a-lifetime award. I would have done it even if it wasn’t for the award, but I’m very pleased to have it,” Zachary said.

Zachary’s parents are pleased with their son’s brave actions, but also with the ROTC program at Pine-Richland.

“Our younger son, Jacob, is also in the program and it has made a huge difference in their overall self-esteem, their character. They are just turning into fine young men and it’s with the help of this program,” Roger said.


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