INDIANAPOLIS - On Wednesday, January 17, Crystal Griner '06 received the NCAA Award of Valor during the Honors Celebration at the NCAA Convention.
Griner, a former women's basketball player at Hood College, was one of two U.S. Capitol Police officers on site when a gunman opened fire at a practice for the Republican congressional baseball team in June 2017 in Alexandria, Virginia. Griner was shot in the ankle while protecting the lawmakers in attendance and was hailed as a hero for her actions.
"My time as a student-athlete significantly shaped who I am today," Griner said after receiving the award. "The values of leadership, being able to respect teamwork and being able to handle myself under pressure are key reasons why I am here today. Being a student-athlete, you have to have a drive and a determination on and off the court in order to succeed and it's a quality that I have taken with me throughout my career. I have a privilege to be a part of a team every day I go into work. It's just wonderful to work with the men and women I do and they are just outstanding people."
Jack Ford, master of ceremonies, told Crystal, "Here are two things that we know to be true. First is our heroes, when they're confronted with a time of crisis don't run away from the danger, they run directly to it. And the other thing that we know is our heroes, as you said before, don't think they are heroes. But we want you to know that to all of us you are indeed a hero and thank you so much for what you did."
The NCAA Award of Valor may be presented to a coach or administrator currently associated with intercollegiate athletics, or to a current or former varsity letter-winner at an NCAA institution who, when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action or noteworthy bravery.
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2018 NCAA Valor Award recipient Crystal Griner
2018 Honors Celebration (Griner receives her award at approximately the 1:36.30 mark of the video below (-1:20:40 from the end))