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American Heroes Program

Honoring our American Heroes (military, police, first responders) is a great program for the Kansas One Shot Turkey Hunt mission. For those who have sacrificed for their country, their community, and their families, and those who have provided outstanding service, it is an honor to offer this program to them. 

If you know someone who fits this program, feel free to nominate them to hunt in this event. Complete the form below and submit it to the KOSTH Board of Directors.

2024 American Heroes

Kyle Mellard – Wichita Police Dept-AMERICAN HEROES: Kyle is 32 years old and was born and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He is married to his best friend and wife, Shelby, and they have three beautiful daughters: Clarke (4), Spencer (3), and Theo (1). Kyle is a Police Officer for the Wichita Police Department for the City of Wichita, Kansas, serving since 2016. Currently, he is assigned to the K-9 unit and partnered with PSD Bear. In June 2021, Kyle was shot in the line of duty while responding to the aid of officers who were ambushed by an armed subject. He was shot in the head and both legs. After several surgeries, weeks in the hospital and months of physical therapy, he would return to light duty in May of 2022 and then to full-time duty in December of 2022. In his free time, he enjoys hunting, fishing, and spending time with friends and family.

Daniel Shields – Butler County Paramedic: Daniel joined the United States Army as a Junior in high school at 17. Being a military member was something that he wanted to do from a very young age, so as soon as he could join, he made it happen. Daniel went to basic combat training during the summer between his Junior and Senior years of high school. Upon graduation in August 2003, he returned for his Senior year of high school. Upon graduating high school, he left again and completed his Advanced Individual Training, which he completed in July of 2004. From there, he worked various jobs while attending monthly drills for the Army. In December of 2005, he was one of five individuals from his unit in Wichita to be sent to Lincoln, NE, for pre-mobilization training for deployment to Iraq. Part of his pre-mobilization training in Lincoln consisted of a 40-hour combat lifesaver class. This class was essentially an advanced first aid class in the event of a combat casualty. Daniel believes that this class spawned his interest in EMS. In February of 2006, he was the sole individual from his unit to be sent to Iraq with the unit from Lincoln. He spent thirteen months in Iraq and returned in March of 2007. Daniel returned to the civilian workforce again but always felt something was missing. He and his fiancé were married in 2008, and soon after, he was again selected for his second deployment, this time to Kuwait. During both of his deployments, he was tasked with convoy security and, as a result, unfortunately, witnessed the horrors of combat not only on his fellow soldiers but also on himself. During his second deployment in 2009, he was out on a mission in Iraq and became victim to an IED known as an explosively formed projectile, or EFP. These specific types of IEDs are known for their catastrophic damage to military vehicles and personnel. He and the two other soldiers in the vehicle were injured, with his Truck Commander (TC) sustaining the most severe injuries of the three. Daniel’s training and instincts immediately kicked in, and he was able to pull his TC from the vehicle and to a safer location until further help arrived. While waiting for our medic to arrive, he began assessing his TC’s injuries and preparing him for further treatment. Daniel was awarded the Purple Heart Medal in Kuwait and remained there until our time was finished. He returned home in February of 2010 and attempted to find his way in the civilian workforce again. While trying to find his way in life, he seemed to go from job to job, in and out of school, changing majors, but never really finding a true passion. He decided to go to EMT school, which was probably one of the best decisions he could have made. While life got in the way for a bit, with a new wife and three beautiful children, Daniel could finally continue following his dream of becoming a Paramedic. He started Paramedic school in August of 2018 and completed the arduous program in December of 2019, and he has never looked back. Daniel absolutely loves what he does and wishes he would have started this journey much sooner.

His time in the Army, especially during his two combat deployments, spawned an early interest and well-prepared him for his career in EMS.

Tharon Mott—Emporia EMT—Firefighter–American Heroes: Tharon started volunteering in the Fire Service when he was 16 and in high school. While in school, he started taking Firefighter classes through Hutchinson Community College. After graduating high school, Tharon attended Hutchinson Community College and received his associate degree in Fire Science, and he also obtained his EMT at the same time. After completing college, he became the Volunteer Fire Chief of the North Lyon County Fire District # 2, a position he still holds today. He started his dream job as a FF/EMT for the Emporia Fire Department in 2018, where he gets to serve his community and county daily! On December 12th, 2021, Tharon responded to an apartment fire in Emporia with his volunteer fire department. After arriving at the fire, he was directed to bust open a window on the 3rd floor from a ladder. While he was on top of the ladder, the roof collapsed, falling on him and knocking him off the ladder. Tharon had fallen three stories and had part of the roof land on him. He was knocked unconscious and taken to the hospital. He had several injuries due to the accident. He broke his left clavicle and broke six ribs on his left side. He punctured his left lung and suffered burns to his head and face, as well as a laceration to the back of his head. Tharon spent a week up at Stormont Vail Hospital being treated and had surgery to repair his clavicle. After returning home from the hospital, he spent three months recovering, with the help of his wife, from my injuries. He was fortunate to fully recover and return to his job, where he still enjoys serving my community.

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American Heroes Sponsors

Mat Raymond
Jacksonville, NC

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American Heroes Nomination

Thanks for submitting!
Nominations will be reviewed in December.

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