UNIVERSITY CITY, Mo. – University City High School honored a student Friday after he rescued a child during the historic flooding in July.

John Trotter is a cadet and sophomore at the high school, and he was honored with a big surprise during the high school’s Veterans Day ceremony Friday. He was rewarded with the JROTC Air Force Silver Valor Medal, which is awarded to a cadet for a voluntary act of heroism that does not meet the risk-of-life requirements.

In July, Trotter ran to help his neighbor when her five-year-old was trapped in their basement by rising floodwaters. Trotter grabbed a cast iron skillet and used it as an axe to open a hole in the floor. It gave the child enough space and air to survive until the University City Fire Department could complete the rescue.

According to his award nomination, “Cadet Trotter’s bravery in the face of uncontrolled flooding was further highlighted by the fact that while he was working to rescue the child, his mother’s car was swept down the street by the waters. Because of his conspicuous and heroic actions, Cadet John Trotter exemplifies the best traditions and ideals of Service Before Self and clearly deserves the Air Force Silver Valor Award.”

School officials and commanding officer Col. Robert Jakcsy joined Trotter as he accepted his award Friday.