Teen killed while shielding three girls during shooting honored with ESPYs’ Arthur Ashe Courage Award.
Zaevion Dobson was just 15 years old when he was shot and killed after taking on the role of protector. On Wednesday, July 13, Tennessee native was honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the 2016 ESPYs.
Zenobia Dobson, the teen’s mother, was on hand to accept the award presented by Steph Curry. The award is given to an individual “possessing strength in the face of adversity, courage in the face of peril and the willingness to stand up for their beliefs no matter what the cost,” reports ESPN.
“The family of Zaevion William Dobson accepts with great appreciation the honorable Arthur Ashe Award on behalf of our beloved young man of valor, who sacrificed himself to save others,” Dobson said in a statement.
“Arthur Ashe was a leading example of strength and courage for us as a family, and we feel truly blessed and honored that our Zaevion joins the ranks of honorees,” the statement continued. “Like Arthur Ashe, Zaevion faced obstacles, but he overcame them. With this award, we know that Zaevion’s name and example will never be forgotten.”
In December 2015, the high school sophomore was fatally shot while shielding three girls from random gunfire in what police deemed a gang-related shooting. According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Dobson and his friends had no connection to the shooter and were likely the victims of an attack meant for someone else.
Zaevion was a promising athlete and student who was “always trying to take care of other folks,” his high school principal told NBC News at the time. “He would always be checking on other students. He was the kid that other kids wanted to be around.”
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama also praised Dobson’s heroic act during a speech in January. “He gave his life to save theirs – an act of heroism a lot bigger than anything we should ever expect from a 15-year-old,” said Obama.
“Zaevion’s actions to risk his own life for others demonstrate the true meaning of the word courage, and his boundless bravery has inspired many,” ESPYS Executive Producer Maura Mandt said in a statement. “By celebrating Zaevion’s legacy, we hope to bring more attention to this serious issue and continued focus on the tragic loss of lives to gun violence.”
As of last night’s ceremony, Dobson is the youngest ever recipient of the accolade. Show his family some love and support in the comment section below.