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Cincinnati nurse helps honor Florida shooting victim Peter Wang

West Point makes 15-year-old honorary cadet
Posted at 7:15 PM, Feb 22, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-23 13:00:24-05

CINCINNATI - Peter Wang, 15, was an ROTC cadet who dreamed of going to West Point before he died in the shootings at a Florida high school last week.

When she heard about his story, Alicia Fitzgerrel, a Cincinnati nurse, thought Wang deserved to have his life's dream fulfilled in the only way possible.

Peter Wang

"Absolutely he was a hero that day," said Fitzgerrel, who works at the Center for Addiction Treatment helping patients with opioid addiction.

Wang was holding the door open for others to escape when he was shot and killed, along with 16 others, according to media reports.

Wang’s story hit close to home for Fitzgerrel, who attended West Point for a year. Both her father and brother served in the army.

"Those values stick with you forever - what they teach there,” said Fitzgerrel. "And when I saw the way that Peter Wang died, I thought, he's the epitome of that."

Fitzgerrel sent an email to West Point. West Point made a call to the family. It turns out graduates and veterans groups had already reached out, too.

"I saw that over 60,000 people had signed a petition to get him military honors," Fitzgerrel said.

Wang did get those honors. He was made an honorary West Point cadet on the day of his funeral.

 “It was an appropriate way for USMA to honor this brave young man," the academy said in a statement. "West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidates whose actions exemplified the tenets of duty, honor and country."

Wang was buried Tuesday in uniform, at his family's request, and the JROTC Medal of Heroism was on his uniform, according to a spokesperson for Army Cadet Command. A second medal was given to the family as a keepsake.

Two other JROTC cadets killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School -- Martin Duque and Alaina Petty, both 14 -- were also awarded the Medal of Heroism.