Fallen Airman's family accepts medal for a hero
Tech. Sgt. Steven Hollon is recognized by Air Force personnel with the posthumous presentation of the Airman's Medal to his wife, Karen, daughters, Faith and Renae, and his mother, Sara. Hollon was killed while protecting his youngest daughter during a catastrophic tornado outbreak April 15, 2011. (U.S. Air Force photo by Melanie Rodgers Cox)
by Master Sgt. Michael Voss
Air University Public Affairs
4/24/2012 - MAXWELL AIR FORCE BASE, Ala. -- Karen Hollon accepted the posthumous Airman's Medal on behalf of her husband Tech. Sgt. Steven A. Hollon during a ceremony, here April 23.
The award presented by Air University Commander Lt. Gen. David Fadok was received for actions including voluntary risk of life under circumstances other than conflict when an EF-3 tornado hit the town of Prattville, Ala., April 15, 2011.
The Prattville native was staying with family in the area while on terminal leave when the family was tragically awakened by the deafening sound of the 150 mile-per-hour storm approaching the house.
With only minutes warning the family rushed for cover from the powerful destruction that would claim the lives of Hollon, his father, Willard, and sister, Cheryl Hollon.
According to the medal citation, knowing that the family home was being ripped apart, the twenty-two year Air Force veteran and aircraft maintainer without regard to his own safety rushed to protect his youngest daughter, Faith Hollon.
The Desert Storm veteran used his body to shield the 9-year-old as the walls of the home crashed down around them.
An eyewitness following the storm explained, "A volunteer fireman and I began searching for survivors. As we searched, we heard the voice of a child under a very large pile of debris. After ten to fifteen minutes of digging we made contact with the child. As we broke back more of the wood, we found her father [Hollon] lying beside her with their legs tangled together."
Both Steven and Faith been had been thrown more than 50 feet because of the 400-yard-wide tornado.
"It is also my opinion that Steven Hollon's body mass kept the weight of the walls off of Faith, as she laid there under them," said the eyewitness.
Though it has been nearly a year since the tragedy, both the community and Hollon's Air Force family still remember the loss of the great Airman.
"Today, we honor a great Airman, a husband who honored his wife, a father, who cared for his kids and a son who made his parents proud," said Hollon's former commander, Lt. Col. Michael Hammond. "He was a leader, a role model and a positive influence on every Airman he touched."
Steven Holon is survived by his wife of sixteen years, Karen and daughters Renae and Faith.
"Steve embraced and internalized our core values, even in his last moments," said Air University Commander, Lt. Gen. David Fadok. "We can all learn a lot from his actions. To give your own life to save another is the ultimate sacrifice and the Air Force is a better place because of people like Steve Hollon."