Natural Resources Specialist Robert L. Henderson received a Secretary of the Army Award for Valor for stopping an armed threat and potential active shooter from injuring or killing others at the Piney Woods Regional Project Office near Lake O’ the Pines, Texas on Dec. 29, 2016.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Commander, Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite presented the award to Henderson at a ceremony at the Fort Worth District Office on Oct. 25, 2017.
“Some heroes are created in Hollywood, this hero comes from the Corps of Engineers,” said Lt. Gen. Todd Semonite. “I can’t thank you enough on behalf of the Secretary of the Army and the Corps of Engineers.”
Semonite also said, this is what we expect Corps of Engineers’ employees to do. Do the harder right, be able to make sure that when the challenges are there you step up and tackle them and you do it in a manner that is fitting for not only a great Army Civilian but a great American hero.
“The best thing I could think to do at the time was talk him of the ledge,” said Henderson. “I’m just thankful that nobody was hurt and that everybody was able to go home to their families that day.”
Fort Worth District, Natural Resources Specialist, Robert L. Henderson showed great courage and bravery in the line of duty.
Henderson’s ability to deal with a disgruntled member of the public that entered the Piney Woods Region Project Office to make a complaint about the conditions of the Lake O’ the Pines facilities was extraordinary.
Henderson’s ability to think quickly and strategically enabled him to effectively deal with the situation before it escalated out of control.
The hostile individual was extremely belligerent and made multiple threats against the staff and government property. Continuing his abrasive behavior and antics for approximately 20 minutes, the individual proceeded to leave the office and retrieve a revolver from his vehicle. Keeping an observant eye on the individual, Henderson noticed the individual returning with the weapon, and quickly alerted the others in the building of the armed threat and potential shooter situation. The front door was unable to be locked before the individual was able to re-enter the building. Two volunteers in the reception area froze in place which is the exact area the disgruntle individual reentered the building.
Henderson put the safety volunteers above his own and remained in the room to ensure they were safe. Through the use of his training, He was able to deescalate the situation and convince the disgruntled individual to place his weapon on the counter. He kept the individual’s attention until law enforcement was able to enter the room from behind and make an arrest without injury. Had he not acted in such a valorous manner, himself, the two volunteers, and others in the office could have been injured or killed. His bravery reflects great credit upon himself, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Nation.