CORTLAND, N. Y. - The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Award of Valor honors individuals who have demonstrated an ability to overcome obstacles, serve as an inspiration to others, use perseverance, dedication, and determination to overcome a life-altering event. Kyle Richard of Cortland has embodied all of that and much more which is why the SUNYAC is honored to present him with the Award of Valor in May at this year's SUNYAC awards banquet in Syracuse.
In the summer of 2017, Richard and his friends were attending a party on Long Island where he would be shot twice, once in each leg, trying to stop a sexual assault.
Fortunately, the shots missed major arteries and bones and Richard was able to continue playing football for Cortland in that upcoming season. Doctors told him he would be back mid-season, but Richard was determined to come back earlier - He was back by the second game of the season.
Since this event, Richard has become an advocate for bystander intervention and leader in the fight against sexual assault. Now with the football season over, he can switch his focus to having his voice heard on a topic that needs to be talked about.
"True heroes step up when they see somebody in trouble," Richard said. This message shows his commitment and determination to getting people to do the right thing no matter the consequences.
Richard has used his new platform to speak at events such as the inauguration of SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson, Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, NJ, and Utica College's Take Back the Night March. All of these having the goal of ending sexual and domestic violence through prevention.
As well, Kyle has recently received the 2018 Orange Bowl Courage Award which recognizes a college football player who has displayed bravery on and off the field. He was the first Division III honoree to receive the award since it was created in 2002.
A role model now, Richard epitomizes what it is to be a true hero. The ability to step up and put one's life on the line for the sake of others is remarkable and we commend him for that.