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Honored for his heroism

From left: Joe Wysochanski, national executive committeeman, Sons of the American Legion; Craig Wilhelm, commander of the American Legion, Department of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia Military Academy Commandant Russell Gallagher; Philadelphia Military Academy principal Kristian Ali; Kaheem Bailey-Taylor; Tilia Moore, Kaheem’s godmother; and Bob Cummings, commander, Philadelphia County Council of the American Legion.

The Philadelphia County Council of the American Legion on Saturday celebrated its annual birthday dinner at Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 and honored a teenager with a Heroism Award.

The honoree was Kaheem Bailey-Taylor, a 17-year-old from Strawberry Mansion and a junior at Philadelphia Military Academy.

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Last August, Bailey-Taylor had just left a birthday party for his cousin when he heard shots fired. He ran back to the house and found four gunshot victims, three cousins and another cadet from PMA.

Experienced in first aid, he determined that his cousins’ injuries were not life threatening, but the gunshot to his classmate was potentially a fatal stomach wound. He applied pressure to the wound.

When police officers arrived, they placed the victim in the back seat of their car, and Bailey-Taylor put his fingers inside the wound to try to stop the bleeding en route to Temple University Hospital. The victim survived, and an arrest was made.

Bailey-Taylor is a commanding officer and involved in student government and the drill team at PMA, a public high school for boys and girls at 2118 N. 13th St. (at Susquehanna Avenue) that stresses character, service and leadership development. He hopes to serve in the Army and ultimately become a Philadelphia police officer.

Earlier, Bailey-Taylor received the prestigious U.S. Army Junior ROTC Medal of Heroism, a City Council resolution and tickets to the NFC championship game.

Among those attending Saturday’s 104th anniversary of the American Legion celebration were state Sen. Sharif Street, former Sen. Shirley Kitchen and City Councilman Jim Harrity. ••

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