A Bay Ridge hero is honored.
Brooklyn native and ROTC cadet Mark Kindschuh, who saved a wounded man during a terror attack in a London bar in June of last year by giving him medical attention amidst the chaos, was presented with the ROTC U.S. Army Medal for Heroism by Congressmember Dan Donovan on Monday, January 8.
Donovan joined military officials, friends and family at Fort Hamilton Army Base for the ceremony, where Kindschuh received the highest honor for ROTC cadets.
“It’s extremely humbling. It definitely means a lot to me and my parents as well,” Kindschuh told this paper. “I was just happy and proud that I was able to represent, in a pretty dire situation, my battalion, cadet command and the Army as a whole in a positive fashion.”
It also meant a lot for the Boston College student to celebrate the honor in his home neighborhood. “I grew up in Bay Ridge and I’ve been to Fort Hamilton for different events growing up so getting it here, an Army installation with such an important history, is definitely very cool,” he said.
Donovan, along with U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, penned a letter to Acting Secretary of the Army Robert Speer recommending that Kindschuh receive the U.S. Army Medal for Heroism; the request was approved in September of last year.
“I’m grateful the Secretary of the Army saw Mark’s heroics as we did as deserving this honor,” Donovan said. “It’s a proud moment. That Mark took it upon himself during a terrorist attack to come to the aid of a fellow human being is just a reflection of the man he is and the parents that raised him. The Medal for Heroism is rarely given out. It takes acts such as Mark’s this past summer to be recognized with such an honor.”
Kindschuh’s father, also named Mark, a doctor at Coney Island Hospital, was thrilled. “It’s the most exceptional honor the Army can bestow on our son and it makes us immensely proud. These times need heroes and positive stories because there is so much of the opposite and to have your own son stand out as a positive story is exceptional.”
He added that Mark has always shown bravery. “He has always had a kind, thoughtful, considerate nature,” the elder Kindschuh said. “He would respond to anyone in need. He always has. His mother taught him well. Mark has strong faith and will help anyone in need and not think of himself. I always say actions speak louder than words. And if you could become a man of action, you’re able to serve.”
Longtime friend and current roommate Ryan Carragher was also in attendance. “I’ve known Mark for seven years. None of us had a doubt that he had this in him,” he said. “I think he’s also been resilient. He never had any fear about doing what he thought was right. He showed it in an outstanding way this summer but he’s always done what people expect him to.”
“For a young cadet who is going to be leader in the United States Army, it sends a message of what his career is going to be, which is selfless service, heroism and leadership,” said Colonel Peter Sicoli, the fort’s commander. “I’m impressed with his leadership, his selfless service, his courage.”
Kindschuh, for his part, is ready to focus on his future. “I’m definitely humbled, but after this, hopefully things should calm down,” he said. “I’m excited about the future. This summer, I will be training and then at the end of August I have to decide what I want to do in the Army once I’m commissioned. I am thinking about either law or intelligence.”