High School Football Player Who Died Shielding Girls From Gunfire to Receive Courage Award
A Tennessee teen who gave up his own life to protect two girls from gunfire will receive a prestigious courage award, six months after his death.
Zaevion Dobson threw himself in harm's way to save two friends as shots rang out in December. Next month, Dobson's mother will accept the Arthur Ashe Courage award on her son's behalf.
Dobson, who died a hero at the age of 15, will be the youngest person ever honored with the award, which has been handed out annually since 1993 in memory of late tennis champ and humanitarian Arthur Ashe.
The teen's story made it all the way to the desk of President Obama, who tweeted praise for Dobson.
"Zaevion Dobson... was a hero at 15. What's our excuse for not acting?" the president wrote soon after the high school sophomore's death.
Dobson's mother, Zenobia Dobson, will receive the award at July's ESPY ceremony in Los Angeles.
"I'm just so honored to be his mother," Zenobia Dobson told The Associated Press. "I will always love him in my heart, but since his passing, I love him even more. I draw closer to him every day."
Dobson was killed and the girls were unharmed when shooters "randomly fired multiple times" in Dobson's neighborhood December 17 during what police called a shooting spree across Knoxville.
"These cowardly and senseless acts of violence must stop," Knoxville Police Chief David Rausch said at the time of the tragedy. "We should be preparing to celebrate the Christmas holiday, but now we have two men who are dead."
Past recipients of the Ashe Courage award include Muhammad Ali, Dean Smith, Billie Jean King, Pat Summitt, Michael Sam, and Caitlyn Jenner.