HOUSTON — A 24-year-old American, who took a bullet for an Indian engineer, has been honored as 'A True American Hero' by the Indian American community in Houston which raised $100,000 to help him buy a house in his hometown in Kansas.
Ian Grillot, who was injured when he tried to intervene in the shooting by a Navy veteran targeting Indians at a bar in Olathe, Kansas last month, was honored as 'A True American Hero' at the 14th annual gala of India House Houston here.
Srinivas Kuchibhotla, 32, was killed and his colleague Alok Madasani was critically injured in the shooting.
"On behalf of the Indian American community in Houston, India House recognized this selfless act beyond the call of duty and has extended the community’s gratitude to Ian Grillot by helping him to buy a house," said a statement posted on the India House Houston Facebook page.
India House raised $100,000 as part of an initiative supported by the Consul General of India in Houston Dr. Anupam Ray to help Grillot buy a house in his hometown, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Grillot said, "I don't know if I could've lived with myself if I wouldn't have stopped or attempted to stop the shooter because that would've been completely devastating."
"I do now have a very powerful message and if I can help empower people and spread hope and love, then why not? I am honored to be at India House that serves so many families from so many communities in the Houston area," he said.
India's Ambassador to the U.S. Navtej Sarna handed over the check to Grillot.
"I was keen to come here today because I was told that Ian Grillot will be honored. It was a great privilege to meet him and his parents. He is a young man who has shown exceptional courage, strength of very fundamental human values. No amount of honor that India or the Indian Americans bestows on him will be recompensed enough for that moment of exceptional fortitude and character," Sarna said.
Popular Indian chef Vikas Khanna was another guest of honor at the event and talked about his immigrant experience, struggles that immigrants go through.
"It is not every day that one meets a genuine hero, a person who risks his life for another, and takes a bullet for a complete stranger. Ian Grillot is a man who reminds us of the promise of America and its greatness," said Jiten Agarwal, chair of the annual gala.
"I have had the very distinct honor of serving in the Obama administration as the assistant Secretary of State," said Nisha D. Biswal, former Assistant Secretary of State for South/Central Asia.
India House also gave a lifetime achievement award to renowned cardiologist Dr. Virendra Mathur, who has completed 60 years of his professional career.
Related story: Indian-Americans Must Realize That Their Complacency Will Not Save Them From Hate
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