Former US Vice President Joe Biden has honoured a student who was shot while attempting to stop a rape at a party in Long Island in New York.
The veteran politician who served as Barack Obama’s deputy hailed Kyle Richard a hero as he presented him with the Biden Courage Award for Bystander Intervention in New York.
The 20-year-old went to party last July where he helped to stop a man from allegedly sexually assaulting a girl in the bathroom.
Mr Richard, a captain for State University of New York College (SUNY) at Cortland’s football team, pursued the assailant who drew for a gun and shot him twice, hitting him in each leg.
The bullets “missed major arteries and bones by millimetres” but he was able to recover with intensive physical therapy and training,
He is now an advocate for victims of sexual assault.
Nassau County district attorney’s office spokeswoman Miriam Sholder said the case against the alleged attacker was pending.
Mr Biden used the event in Manhattan to make a plea for young men not to be silent bystanders.
“Not everyone can be a hero like Kyle,” he said. But you have an obligation to holler… to step up.”
He added: “Since this incident, Kyle has become an advocate working at SUNY Cortland and in the local community to raise awareness on sexual assault and the importance of being a bystander,” actor Adam Devine said as he presented Richard with the award.”
Cortland President Erik J Bitterbaum called Mr Richard “a remarkable young man whose courage and compassion is an inspiration to us all.”
He added: “He exemplifies the type of active and selfless engagement with the world that we encourage in all our students. Needless to say, we are incredibly proud that he is part of the SUNY Cortland community.”
Mr Richard also made the point that not everyone had to endure a bullet to be active and engaged bystanders.
“I realise that people do want to hear my voice,” he said. “It is a tough topic but we need somebody to talk about it, especially from a male perspective.”
His story went viral after he shared in on social media and he was inundated with support.
But while he “knew there would be attention and some sort of publicity”, he said: “It’s not really about that.”
The award was sponsored by the National Football League and Richard was also presented with a letter from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
SUNY Cortland said last march Richard was presented with a Next Generation Award from Kristin’s Fund which was established in memory of Kristin Palumbo Longo to eliminate domestic violence.
“I will dedicate myself to helping ‘males’ turn into ‘men’ by continuing to lead by example. Let our generation be the change,” Richard wrote on Instagram after winning the award.