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LULAC awarded Fierro $5,000 and its Presidential Medal.
LULAC awarded Fierro $5,000 and its Presidential Medal. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

LULAC awards Army Vet who took down Colorado mass shooter the Presidential Medal, the organization's highest honor

Fifteen-year Army Vet. Richard Fierro helped bring down the shooter at Club Q that killed five people.

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One of the oldest national Latino Civil Rights Organization, LULAC, is awarding $5,000 and its Presidential Medal, to the Army veteran who helped stop the mass shooter at Club Q in Colorado Springs. The shooting left five people dead. 

“LULAC is awarding this ex-combat soldier who did four tours in Iraq and Afghanistan the LULAC Presidential Medal. This recognition is the highest honor bestowed by the league in our 93-year history. Only a select group of men and women are worthy of this honor, and Rich is a hero whose actions saved lives, even if he might lose his own," LULAC President Domingo Garcia said in a statement. 

Fifteen-year Afghanistan and Iraq War veteran Richard Fierro was one of individuals, including his wife and Navy Sailor Thomas James, who took down the gunman who opened fire inside Club Q on the night of Nov. 19. Fierro’s heroics are now being nationally recognized by the almost century-old organization and will award him their highest honor. Fierro’s wife, Jessica, said Richard disarmed the shooter and hit him with the shooter's own gun. 

"LULAC reminds America that fear-mongering leads to these types of deadly attacks but thank God we have American heroes like Rich Fierro who stand up to danger and act to defend other people," said Garcia. 

LULAC reached out to the Fierro family to invite him to Washington to bestow the award and honor or to come to him in Colorado Springs for a special ceremony.

Twice decorated with the Bronze Star — the military’s award recognition of those who demonstrate heroism, achievement or meritorious service while in combat not involving aerial flight — Fierro was with his family when the attack began and said he pulled out his training and experience as an Army veteran who did tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, to help bring down the shooter. 

Raymond Green Vance, 22, the boyfriend of the Fierros' daughter Kassy, was one of the five victims. Jessica added that her two best friends were also among those injured and that Kassy broke her knee as she ran to look for cover. A few of the original founders of LULAC, which was created in 1929, were Mexican-American military veterans. 

"Rich Fierro protected his family first and without hesitation leaped into the breach to place his own body between them and those enemies who would do us harm," said Garcia. "Throughout our modern history, this is the price Latinos heroes have paid for our nation's freedoms."

Garcia also called out President Joe Biden and his administration in a press release when the shooting initially happened, calling for swift action. 

"LULAC strongly denounces this massacre and calls on Congress and the Biden Administration to move swiftly to make hate crimes of this nature a federal capital offense, with no deals for the cowards who commit them,” Garcia said.

“Also, LULAC calls out the religious bigots who are silent when these attacks are committed but are constantly spewing vile hate speech from their pulpits in the name of God and faith. The blood of these innocent victims is on their hands before God, and their silence is their condemnation of guilt. LULAC calls the mass shootings the product of our nation's hypocrisy that claims to value life but fails to defend those different from them,” Garcia added.

The Fierro couple are Colorado Springs residents and have their own brewery called Atrevida. It was founded by Jessica Fierro and is run by the family. They are also a part of the Pink Boots Society, which assists, inspires and educates women in the fermented/alcoholic beverage industry.

One of Atrevida’s beers is in honor of the annual pride parade named Christopher Street. According to its website, the brewery has participated in every parade since inception.

“Atrevida Beer Company is proud to advocate for equality, inclusion, anti-bullying and for equal treatment under the law for our LGBTQIA+ community,” reads a statement on the website. 

The Fierro’s are also current members of the Colorado Springs Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Their president, Joe Aldaz, commented on Fierro’s brave actions that it “would not surprise me that he would jump to that type of heroism.” 

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