Peer pressure can be strong. No one (especially a kid) wants to do something that might get another kid in trouble, but that's just what Kohler McInnis had to do one day at school. Kohler found the courage to let the school administrators know when a classmate (and friend) brought a loaded gun to school.
Kohler knew something wasn't right with his friend who was distressed in school, but Kohler never imagined the threats might lead to trouble until his friend showed him the semi automatic weapon he was hiding. Fearing for the safety of the teachers, because the young man held a grudge against others at school, Kohler made an excuse to get out of class and run to the office to let someone know his friend had a gun.
This was an especially courageous act because his friend had even threatened to shoot him if he told anyone. Kohler, who was 12 at the time, embodies the spirit of his school, which encourages service to others in a Christian environment and tight-knit community of parents and teachers. Kohler is also a Boy Scout and gives credit to his scout training for helping him step forward to do a difficult thing. As his mother said, "Though his life was threatened and he was more scared than he thought possible, at the risk of his own life he knew he had to tell and do his best to protect everyone."
As you can imagine, it hasn't been easy for Kohler to appreciate the recognition received and he has had to deal with all the repercussions of such a stressful ordeal. Thanks to his parents and his continued involvement with school, church and the Scouts he is just beginning to come to terms with the ramifications of his actions.
On February 3, 2011, Kohler was awarded a National Boy Scout Association Medal of Merit for his act of courage on April 26, 2010. This medal was awarded at the Mesa Verde District Annual Dinner. The District Commissioner drove from Albuquerque, New Mexico (3 hour drive) to present the award to Kohler.
On Monday, February 7, 2011, Kohler received a Citizen's Commendation Award from the Durango Police Department's Chief of Police for his act of bravery, as well. It has been almost 10 months since the incident and Kohler is finally able to accept these awards. In addition, Kohler has built his confidence knowing that he did the right thing on April 26, 2010.
In nominating Kohler for a Citizen's Commendation award, Sergeant Bobby Taylor of the Durango Police Department stated: "Kohler McInnis at the age of twelve knew what he had to do and he did it, when most adults would have probably stood by and either said nothing or waited until it was too late".