Graduate Student Receives Medal of Valor

by University Relations

For risking his life to protect his community, Albert Ixco, M.A. ’20, stood in the East Room of the White House on February 20, 2018, as President Donald Trump honored him with the Medal of Valor, the highest decoration possible for bravery by public safety officers. The ceremony recognized Ixco and five of his fellow officers involved in stopping the two terrorists who fatally wounded 14 people and seriously injured 21 more at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California, on December 2, 2015.

After serving 20 years as a peace officer with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department (10 of those as a detective), Ixco has seen more than his share of violence and crime, but nothing close to what took place on that day. Along with many other officers, he responded to the alert about an active shooter and assisted fellow law enforcement personnel in holding a perimeter while the SWAT team searched for the suspects in the building. When they were spotted at another location, Ixco sped to the area along with other officers, engaged in a battle, and helped end the incident. The investigation that followed revealed the couple had fired 81 rounds at pursuing officers, including Ixco, and that the shooters had more than 1,800 rounds of .223-caliber ammunition and more than 400 9mm rounds on their person or in their vehicle.

Ixco’s bravery that day not only saved lives, but also characterizes his approach to his life and career—in all he does, he strives to put others before himself. Adding yet another dimension to that philosophy, Ixco enrolled in Azusa Pacific’s Master of Arts in Leadership with an Emphasis in Sport Management program, as a way of gaining valuable leadership skills as well a potential avenue for making a difference in college athletics. He believes the formal training will give legs to his belief in a team concept through discipline, compassion, and hard work, and give him tools essential for his current career and whatever else God has planned for him personally and professionally. As Ixco pursues divine guidance and technical training, he models the strong, ethical, compassionate leadership needed today in law enforcement, the Church, and college athletics, and he leaves a legacy of obedience, faith, confidence, and courage for his family and all those he serves and serves with.

Originally published in the Summer '18 issue of APU Life. Download the PDF or view all issues.