It isn’t just through combat that Marines fight and win our Nation’s battles. For his quick response during a North Carolina traffic accident, Lance Corporal Kevin A. Grajeda received the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, the highest noncombat medal for heroic action.
Lance Corporal Kevin Grajeda was awarded for heroism while serving as a first responder on December 13, 2018, by assisting victims of a severe vehicular accident, providing life-saving measures, coordinating medical services, and sustaining life threatening injuries to himself while saving others.
“That was my only course of action. I feel that, that woman would have died in her car if I didn’t do anything.”
– LCPL Kevin Grajeda
After another late night keeping his fellow Marines properly fed and ready for the fight as a Marine Corps Food Service Specialist, Lance Corporal Kevin Grajeda left Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, NC, to enjoy his own dinner with friends. But his normal drive home took a dramatic detour when two vehicles in front of him collided.
With a sense of purpose and without hesitation, LCpl Grajeda sprung into action, first calling 911 to report the accident, and then rushing into the scene to assist.
“I immediately thought, I have to get off the phone. I have to go help these people,” LCpl Grajeda said later.
Through plumes of smoke, LCpl Grajeda noticed a female passenger was not only still inside one of the vehicles, but unconscious. He would later find out it was local middle school teacher, Madeleine Hobbs.
After taking her from the burning car and to a safe stretch of roadside, Hobbs regained consciousness and asked Grajeda if he could help her find her phone so she could call her mother. In a twist of fate, Grajeda was struck by another vehicle that had slammed into the crash site. Even after suffering life-threatening injuries, LCpl Grajeda says that if faced with the same situation, he would still choose to help others without a second thought.
“Just because of what happened to me doesn’t mean it will stop me from ever helping anyone else again,” Grajeda said. For his extraordinary and selfless actions, LCpl Grajeda received the Navy and Marine Corps medal, our Nation’s highest non-combat action honor for heroism.