Until last Thursday afternoon, Kierra Coleman wasn’t aware that she was considered a hero.
On October 16, Kilmarnock Museum hosted the Star Wall Awards Ceremony, an Oscar Award-style event honoring performing artists from the Northern Neck.
If it wasn’t for Coleman, that red carpet event wouldn’t be remembered as a night of bringing out the stars, it would have ended with catastrophe, insists museum president Carroll Ashburn.
One of the show’s guests was walking with a cane in the days leading up to the show. Because of that, the museum asked that he arrive early so that accommodations could be made accordingly. But when he arrived, he had a walker. At that point, aiming to keep the man away from the stairs altogether, the museum’s leaders decided to seat him backstage.
I don’t know what happened but when it was time for him to come out, he got totally disoriented, said Ashburn. The plan was for him to walk across the stage to the podium. But he was completely out of it and tried to come down the steps.
One more step, and that man would have fallen face first, said Ashburn. Private Coleman, a member of Northumberland’s JROTC, prevented that from happening.
“You had to be there,” said Ashburn. He was really shoving her and was dead set on coming down those steps. She really had to apply pressure to hold onto him and keep him upright and avoid his falling.
“She saved him. She saved our show, and she did it in a way that no one hardly thought anything about it,” Ashburn noted.
With all of the happenings surrounding the event, Ashburn admitted that it took almost three days for the magnitude of Coleman’s actions to truly sink in. Last Thursday, he went to NHS to express his gratitude, which came as a surprise to Coleman because she also hadn’t thought of the incident as anything extraordinary. To her, it was just what needed to be done at that moment. But Ashburn attempted to make her understand that, that night, she became not only one of the show’s stars, but more importantly, its savior.
“At the very best, you saved the show,” he told Coleman. “Worse case scenario, you saved some serious injuries, and perhaps even worse. Had he fallen, not only would it probably have taken you out. The show would have stopped. We would have had to call rescue. People would have left, and the whole night would have been ruined.”
The night, and perhaps even a person’s life, was saved because of Coleman’s quick thinking, Ashburn reiterated as he repeated the story to her and various staff members and students.
Ashburn’s appreciation and praise didn’t stop with that incident. Coleman worked the October 16th event with fellow JROTC Private Meghan Downing.
When the opportunity to volunteer for the event was presented, Coleman said she was the first one to sign up. Downing said she was second. Other JROTC members also volunteered, but ultimately, only Coleman and Downing were able to attend.
Not only was it just the two of them covering the roles meant for several people, but they acted with such an impressive level of professionalism. The training that they had really was on display, said Ashburn.
On top of that, I found out later, that they did all of that and they hadn’t even had dinner, he said.
To make up for that and to show the museum’s appreciation for their service, Ashburn presented Coleman and Downing with gift certificates to Subway. Further, he presented a monetary token of appreciation to JROTC instructor Rafael Vega on behalf of the Kilmarnock Museum.
Thank you so much. It was truly an honor to have them working at our event, Ashburn told Vega.
Although not an official announcement, a JROTC insider shared that Coleman and Downing will soon be promoted.