Thousands of Americans say the hero of the Oregon school shooting should be awarded the highest possible honor for a civilian: the Presidential Medal of Freedom. A petition on the White House's We the People site describes Chris Mintz as one who "continues to display the values of the United States military by his actions to alert others of the danger and then to endanger himself while delaying the attacker to allow time for others to escape." Before he was shot multiple times while charging shooter Chris Harper Mercer, Mintz led people away from the college building where shots could be heard, then returned to help others, reports the Daily Dot. "He ran to the library and pulled the alarms and he was telling people to run, grabbing people, telling them, 'You just have to go,'" a witness tells ABC News.
"Mintz positively displayed the values of loyalty, duty, respect, honor, integrity, personal courage, and self-sacrifice," the petition continues. Awarding him the Medal of Freedom—previously given to Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.—"will hold him up as a strong example to the rest of America that one person can make a difference." More than 6,800 people have signed the petition since Friday, while a GoFundMe page with a $10,000 goal to cover Mintz's medical bills has brought in nearly $750,000. "I'm overwhelmed by the support that I've gotten from everybody," Mintz says in a Facebook video, which shows the veteran in a hospital bed, per KTLA. "I'm doing well," he adds. "I just want to wish all the other families a safe and speedy recovery."