Jacob Allen instantly recalls the date he was shot in the head: Sept. 7, 2011.
If you talk to the 23-year-old Allen, his father, Brownwood Middle School principal Bryan Allen, and the friend who was honored for saving Allen's life, Josh Steed, it's not the shooting that they focus on.
Their emphasis instead is on Allen's recovery, prayer, and their faith in God.
Jacob Allen, who lives in Brownwood with his wife, Jessica, also has much to say about his friend Steed. Steed was awarded the Carnegie Medal by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission for stopping the attack on Jacob and disarming the shooter.
Steed has also established an endowment scholarship at Hardin Simmons University, where Steed and Allen were students in 2011, in Allen's name. Allen said the scholarship is for individuals who have gone through rough times.
"He definitely saved my life," Allen said of Steed. "There's no doubt about it. Josh would tell you different. He'd say I'm the hero. He's a great friend. He risked his life to save mine and I can't thank him enough."
The Carnegie Medal is given throughout the United States and Canada to those who risk their lives to an extraordinary degree while saving or attempting to save the lives of others. The foundation's website describes the events of Sept. 7, 2011 in the office of an Abilene apartment complex, where Allen and Steed worked as property managers:
"Joshua W. Steed rescued Jacob B. Allen from assault, Abilene, Texas, September 7, 2011. Allen, (then) 21, was working at the front desk of an office in an apartment complex when a man entered, approached him, and, without provocation, pointed a .38-caliber revolver at him. Allen sought refuge behind a freestanding brick fireplace nearby, but the assailant pursued him from the opposite side and shot at him repeatedly, striking him in the head.
"Steed, (then) 20, college student, also was working in the office. He picked up a chair and, although access to the office door was open to him, approached the assailant and threw the chair at him, stunning him. As the assailant turned toward Steed, Steed rushed him, grabbing him by the arms and ramming him into a wall. He then threw the assailant to the floor, disabling and disarming him, and secured his weapon. Allen was hospitalized for treatment of his gunshot wound, later requiring surgery. Steed sustained minor bruising, and he recovered."
The shooter, a 73-year-old resident of the apartment complex, died of his injuries.
Allen was hospitalized for just eight days after the shooting, and a week and a half after getting out of the hospital, he was able to resume his classes at Hardin Simmons University.
Allen said his fast recovery was "only by the grace of God."
"Through everything in the healing process, it comes down to prayer," Allen said. "It's not a box that you check off. … We don't always know why things have happened. But we always know there's a reason, a purpose, for everything that does happen."
Allen was born in Abilene and graduated from Brownwood High School in the fall of 2008, interested in the business world. He enrolled in Howard Payne University in the fall of 2008. In May 2011, Allen married the girl he had dated since he was a freshman and she was an eighth-grader.
The September 2011 shooting happened early in the semester, so the semester wasn't far along. When Allen resumed his classes, his professors worked with him to help him catch up.
Allen graduated last year with a business degree and a double major in finance and economics. In June, he went to work at Farmers Insurance in Brownwood.
Steed is now a dorm director at Hardin-Simmons and is in the university's MBA program, Allen said.
Via email, Steed said:
"People are faced with two options when it comes to dealing with tragedy. They either become better, stronger people or they let it destroy their life. From the moment Jacob was conscious he had a positive outlook on what had happened. He recognized that both of us coming out alive was a miracle and he immediately was a leader to everyone around him in dealing with the tragedy.
"Jacob was back in school just a couple of weeks after the shooting, and he was back to work just a couple of weeks after that. Without his courage and his leadership I would have never come out of that situation a better, stronger person. He shined a positive outlook on the entire situation and turned it into an amazing testimony. That is why I wanted to start the scholarship, so that I could honor him for his leadership and so that I could honor God in how faithful he was to us in our healing and protection.
"I am also very honored to have received the Carnegie Medal. It is amazing that someone started something so many years ago to honor people that face tough situations. I am very thankful and grateful for the award."