18:17 PM

Ariz. Members Honored for Lifesaving Valor

Maj. Margot Myers
Public Affairs Officer

Arizona Wing

Silver Medal of Valor

The Arizona Wing pair that responded in May 2020 to an active shooter incident in Glendale marked the event’s 12-month anniversary with not only prestigious medals presented by Civil Air Patrol’s national commander but also a reunion with one of the two shooting victims they assisted.

Maj. Randy Hammit and 1st Lt. Kelli Hammit, members of the Glendale-based 388th Composite Squadron, each received the Silver Medal of Honor from Maj. Gen. Mark Smith. The Silver Medal of Valor, awarded fewer than 150 times since it was established in 1960, recognizes "distinguished and conspicuous heroic action, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of normal duty."

Guest of honor at the award ceremony at Gila River Arena was Destiny Bain, whom the Hammits cared for after she was wounded at Westgate Entertainment District.

Paramedics were not allowed on the shooting scene until it was secured by police, so the Hammits, who lived nearby, administered first aid to Bain and her friend, Armando Jaime, for about 20 minutes until emergency medical technicians took over. Bain was shot in her lower leg and Jaime in the chest.

Lt. Hammit, a registered nurse for more than 30 years, has stayed in touch with Bain and her mother, Kathie, since the incident. Seeing each other before the ceremony for the first time in a year was an emotional moment for the survivor and the CAP members.

During the ceremony, Bain thanked the Hammits for their help. "When I was on the ground begging and pleading for help, they were the only people that came to help me," she tearfully told the gathering. "Nobody else did anything but stop and stare at me or get out their phones to record.

"To know that the shooter was still out there, but all they could think about was to stop the bleeding in my leg, that meant a lot to me. To have you there and to know that I wasn't alone, fighting by myself ... and that you stayed there until the ambulance took me away, I couldn't stop thinking about you,” she told the Hammits.

"We shared a traumatic moment together ... one that we'll never forget. It's imprinted on our lives, and we'll always have that memory."

Smith first met the Hammits when they joined New Mexico Wing while he was wing commander.

"The Hammits are good people, and they do what needs to be done," Smith said. "Randy and Kelli ran into harm's way knowing that they were placing their lives at risk, and they did what needed to be done.

"And you did it in a manner that makes all of us proud," he told them.

Col. Rob Pinckard, Arizona Wing commander, told the audience he wanted them to understand that the Silver Medal of Valor is "a big deal. This is the highest decoration a Civil Air Patrol member can receive.”

"In my 20 years in the service of Civil Air Patrol, this is the first time I've seen a Silver Medal of Valor presented," Pinckard said, "and tonight I get to see it twice."

The recording of the YouTube livestream of the ceremony is available here.