With a brand new medal on his chest, Zachary Fleischauer stood motionless and straight-faced on Sunday morning as fellow soldiers applauded and hollered.
The Franklin Regional senior was humble about the Army recognition.
“I honestly don't think I should get this,” said Fleischauer, 18.
It was his immediate response on the morning of April 9 at his high school that earned him the Army Achievement Medal. Fleischauer, a private first class, used his military first aid training to help treat the stab wounds of several fellow students. A sophomore, authorities say, brought two knives to school and went on a rampage in a first-floor hallway before classes began, injuring 20 students and a security guard.
Fleischauer received the medal at the beginning of a retirement ceremony for six soldiers at the Army Reserve 316th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary) based in Moon.
Brig. Gen. Bud R. Jameson Jr. said it was “entirely fitting” to honor Fleischauer at the start of his military career and others retiring in the same ceremony. Jameson is the commander of the unit.
Fleischauer was at school, early as usual, on April 9 when he heard screaming and then a fire alarm. He tended to a male student's stab wound outside the school with first aid supplies provided by fellow senior Alex Pasculle, who is an emergency medical technician with Murrysville Medic One.
Fleischauer said he patched the student up “as best I could” until ambulances arrived. Afterward, he helped three more injured students and calmed them until paramedics got to the school.
Fleischauer called his response “human nature.”
“I'm glad I was there. I'm glad I had that training,” he said.
The training occurred last summer before his senior year at Fort Benning, Ga. Fleischauer committed to the Army in January 2013 — “best choice of my life,” he said — and completed basic training.
He will have more training this summer and fall before taking on active duty this year.
Pasculle said he is proud of his classmate. Pasculle and Fleischauer worked together at the school to triage and treat injured students, along with other classmates and faculty members.
“He is an awesome kid with an amazing future and did such a good job,” Pasculle said. “He's really passionate about what he does. I'm glad he got the recognition.”
Col. John Dowling said Fleischauer was deserving of the honor, something “not too many” 18-year-old Army soldiers have pinned to their uniforms.
“He proved to be an adult and mature that day,” Dowling said. “He's an asset to the Army Reserve.”
“The first aid and ‘buddy care' he provided that day were heroic,” Dowling said. “We teach people how to perform amidst chaos, so it all made sense.”