Teen honored at valor awards for sheltering siblings when father kills mom's new husband
LOUDOUN Co., Va. (ABC7) —
Among the many firefighters and police officers being recognized for their valor is Maddie Mattison, the 15-year-old whose heroism stands as tall as the rest, "I just feel noticed and it feels really good."
On the night of January 15, 2015, Maddie and her mother Denise returned to the Ashburn home where they lived with Denise's husband Corey and four other siblings.
Maddie's biological father, Minh Nguyen, had stormed into the home, shooting and killing Corey. Despite the ongoing threat, Maddie, the oldest of the five, rushed into the home and directed her siblings into a bathroom for cover.
She then called 911 and directed officers to the home, where they arrested Nguyen.
"It was either the strength of God, or the fact that I really wanted my siblings to be safe," Maddie says.
Loudoun County Deputy Casey Smith was one of the first responders on the scene.
"She's brave. Absolutely brave and courageous. I don't even think most adults could do what she did in that situation."
And today Maddie's bravery was honored with an award for valor, and a standing ovation.
"All I could think was, 'Oh my goodness, this room is gonna stand up for my daughter,' and that's kind of amazing," said Denise.
Maddie was also clearly moved by the event, "Out of all the bad things that have been happening in the past year I'm so blessed that I got this moment. To recognize what I did and to just be happy."
And through it all, Maddie was thinking about Corey, the man she considers her true father. She says she knows that on this day he was looking down and smiling.
"I kind of pictured in my head that he's be doing this (hands over mouth) because he did it whenever he was happy. And just saying he was proud of me cause he always said that."
Two days ago Minh Nguyen was sentenced to life in prison. During the hearing Maddie testified in court for the prosecution. It's something she decided to do all on her own.