NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Former Maryland track and field student-athlete and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Captain Florent “Flo” Groberg was presented with the NCAA Award of Valor at the NCAA Honors Celebration Wednesday evening at the Gaylord Opry Resort and Convention Center.
Maryland Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson presented the award to Captain Groberg. The Award of Valor is given to a student-athlete, coach or administrator who, when confronted with a situation involving personal danger, averted or minimized potential disaster by courageous action. The award is not presented annually, but in the event of an outstanding act of valor.
Groberg competed for Maryland as a member of the track and field team from 2003-to-2006 as a distance specialist, as well as running cross country for the Terps. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in criminology and criminal justice.
Captain Groberg received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Afghanistan from President Obama on November 12, 2015. He is the tenth living recipient of the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan. The Medal of Honor is the highest military honor a United States serviceman can receive.
On the morning of August 8, 2012, Groberg served as a personal security detachment (PSD) commander for Task Force Mountain Warrior in Kunar, Afghanistan. While on patrol, Groberg noticed a suicide bomber at the rear of his company’s formation, and tackled him out of the way as the device detonated. Groberg's actions prevented the bombers from detonating their devices as planned, which could have killed many more on the patrol.
The Bethesda, Md. native has been touring around the country since receiving the honor, which has included an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, recognition at a Maryland football game, speaking with veterans’ groups and throwing out the first pitch at a Chicago Cubs game. Groberg spoke at the Democratic National Convention in August.
Groberg has also returned to campus as a speaker at Maryland’s 2015 winter commencement ceremony. He served as the honorary starter for the alumni mile at Maryland’s Jim Kehoe Twilight Meet in the spring.
Maryland has had two previous NCAA Award recipients. Former men’s basketball coach Lefty Driesell won the Award of Valor in 1974 and former lacrosse/football player Joseph Tydings was honored with the U.S. Senate Salute in 1966.
What They Are Saying About Captain Florent Groberg
President Barack Obama
"On his very worst day, he managed to summon his very best. That's the nature of courage -- not being unafraid, but confronting fear and danger and performing in a selfless fashion. He showed his guts, he showed his training; how he would put it all on the line for his teammates. That’s an American we can all be grateful for.”
University of Maryland President Dr. Wallace D. Loh
“Captain Groberg’s devotion and heroism speak beyond words. He exemplifies the kinds of qualities we like to see in our alumni.” He is an incredibly modest, humble person. We are honored that he is a member of our University of Maryland family.”
Maryland Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson
“We are thrilled that Flo will receive such a distinguished honor. He exemplifies the principles of courage and selflessness that we all strive to embody. We hope that all of our student-athletes, coaches and staff can find inspiration from his heroic actions. We are proud that he is a Terp.”
Maryland Track and Field Head Coach Andrew Valmon
“Flo’s legacy at Maryland continues to extend beyond his athletic career. His actions while serving our country demonstrate what it means to be selfless and to make sacrifices on behalf of others. I am proud of Flo for his courageous efforts and intuition to respond in this time of need. I hope that all of the young women and men on our team can learn from his actions.”