The Daily Gamecock

Student Health Services honors heroes for campus service

Sgt. Kenny Adams among 44 award recipients

Student Health Services gave out its second-annual USC Hero Awards Wednesday night in a packed Russell House Ballroom.

Forty-four campus heroes were honored, twice last year’s amount, according to Samantha Rosser, the graduate education student who organized the event.

“Rhea Ann Merck originally came up with the idea,” Rosser said. “She just wanted to promote accountability and make the campus a safer place, and I wanted to make it bigger. I think it’s fantastic all of the things people are doing; we just need to recognize them for it.”

The Rhea Ann Merck Award, given to individuals who consistently work to improve safety and accountability at USC, was presented to Sgt. Kenneth Adams of the USCPD.

Adams is the most requested and highest rated presenter for U101 classes, and he has given 109 presentations this year to a total audience of 4,200 students. He is known as “the brother man” and for referring to handcuffs as the “click-click.” As head of the Community Service Officer program, Adams has been responsible for registering over 1,600 personal items in an effort to curb personal property crime.

“If you have a passion for their people and their well-being, go out and let your light shine,” Adams said. “It always makes you feel good when you do something to help people.”

Speaking of Adams, USC Vice President for Student Affairs Dennis Pruitt said that “nobody deserves this more than this man, and he has deserved it for a long time.”

The Outstanding Faculty/Staff Hero Award was given to Lara Masri, a post-doctoral fellow and therapist at USC’s counseling center. Masri was nominated by someone who attempted suicide after being sexually assaulted. Masri called an ambulance, talked to him or her until it arrived and visited him or her in the hospital.

“I owe her my life, today and in the future,” the anonymous nominator said.

Masri encouraged students to trust their intuition in knowing when to step in and do the right thing.

“I’m not a special person,” Masri said.

The Outstanding Student Hero Award was given to Amber Hodge, a first-year biology student. When a fellow resident’s guest was intoxicated, Hodge intervened to get the guest help. Hodge got the guest water, called the resident mentor and kept the resident calm while the EMTs carried the guest out of the building.