Shamai Larsen, a senior cadet in the ROTC program and a health and human performance major, was awarded the Legion of Valor Bronze Cross of Achievement during a Special ROTC Awards Ceremony Thursday, Oct. 1.
Colonel Mark Mitchell, the commander of the Fifth Special Forces Group, presented the award.
“I am truly honored to be here and spend a few moments with the Army’s future leaders,” Mitchell said.
“The last eight years have been very difficult in a lot of ways and for young people to stand up and say that they are willing to go serve our nation in whatever capacity the nation asks them to serve is a real moving experience for me.”
The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross of Achievement is presented annually to a cadet who has demonstrated scholastic excellence in military and academic subjects to stimulate the development of leadership.
The award consisted of a Bronze Cross of Achievement, a DVD from the Legion of Valor called “Real Stories of Real Heroes” and a certificate. Larsen was the first APSU student to receive this award.
“I was shocked,” Larsen said. “I was surprised and got really nervous, but this is such an honor.”
Larsen holds a 4.0 GPA and is a member of the APSU women’s cross country team and indoor and outdoor track teams.
“The experience I received on active duty helped me out a lot. I was able to keep my GPA up and I was blessed enough to be physically fit to be an athlete. All these things probably helped [when being considered for this award],” Larsen said.
Mitchell said Larsen’s performance academically, athletically, in a leadership environment and in the ROTC program is stunning and this award is well deserved.
He also said the younger cadets have a wonderful role model with Larsen and should try to duplicate her achievements and level of performance.
Larsen said she wants to go into active duty.
In addition she wants to be the best platoon leader she can be while serving.
She hopes her example can inspire younger cadets to face all the challenges presented and do their best at all times.
“This [award] means that all of my hard work has paid off,” Larsen said.
“I hope I can be a good example to the younger cadets in the ROTC program. To always try for their best and do everything they can to help their military career.”
For here for video of the awards ceremony.