FORT SILL, Oklahoma – The Oklahoma National Guard’s second-highest award, the Oklahoma Star of Valor, was awarded to a Lawton native during a ceremony this month.
Sgt. Kevin Painter, a medic in Headquarters Company, 45th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, Oklahoma Army National Guard, was awarded the medal for putting himself between Katelyn Powers and a knife-wielding attacker and treating the Powers’ wounds.
Maj. Gen. Robbie Asher, the adjutant general for Oklahoma, presented the award among a number of Painter’s fellow soldiers.
“His actions represent the core of what we do in the National Guard,” Asher said. “When our soldiers see a challenge, they are going to do what they need to do. His actions are a great example of why all of us wear the uniform.”
On March 15, along Interstate 35 near the Interstate 40 interchange, Painter’s training as a combat medic provided him with the confidence and ability to apply life-saving aid to numerous stab wounds on the victim’s hands and arms. The attacker fled the scene and jumped off the I-35 bridge and into the Oklahoma River as Painter stayed to comfort the victim until police and first responders arrived. The victim was eight-months pregnant at the time of the attack.
The criteria for the Oklahoma Star of Valor include an individual’s risk of life or limb and protection of another life.
Painter has received various awards for his service, including the Army commendation medal. However, he states that he has never received an award as prestigious as this.
“It’s not something I did for an award or recognition,” said Painter. “You just react. When you’re training to be a combat medic, you can’t think about what you do, you just do it. It just clicks.”
Powers has since had her baby and both are in excellent condition.