Finals week is a stressful time. For many students, studying for finals is a combination of long hours and large quantities of caffeine. It is a serious time filled with much needed preparation. On the University of Nebraska at Omaha campus, a common place for studying is Criss Library. During finals week last May, UNO student Leo Labogen was being openly disruptive in the library’s upper level.
According to UNO senior Brandon Valle, Labogen was loudly talking about inappropriate topics and disrespecting the students around him.
The scene escalated further when Labogen began spewing vulgarities at Valle and other students in the library. Valle said he was surprised at how quickly the student got upset, and then it happened. Labogen pulled out a knife.
“I thought, this has got to be stopped immediately,” Valle said.
That was when Valle went into his Army mindset. He grabbed the wrist of the student and had him pinned to the ground within seconds.
“The staff here was extremely responsive. Everybody was great,” Valle said.
Campus security, the Omaha Police Department and other staff members were at the library shortly after hearing about the incident. Labogen was arrested, and Valle was thanked for his act of courage.
Last Tuesday, Valle was awarded an Army Commendation Medal in Criss Library, the same place he stopped the almost-attack 10 months ago.
According to KETV, the Army commendation medal is awarded for acts of heroism.
Valle enlisted in the Army Reserves at the age of 17 and has been in the Army for 13 years. He said he decided to become an Army officer for many reasons, but most notably for his desire to command soldiers. He said leaders have a direct impact on all soldiers who operate within the Army, and as an officer he is able to support the U.S. Army in a new and exciting way.
Valle has volunteered countless hours in support of the Black Wolves Community Outreach Program, and UNO’s Veteran student events which also include working with Habitat for Humanity, The American Red Cross, Food Bank for the Heartland and more.
Valle has been involved in the Creighton ROTC and is majoring in Aviation Safety.
He will graduate this May, and will go to flight school this summer.
“In about 10 years I plan on being in some tour or special operations unit,” Valle said. “Either flying or doing some kind of small unit missions.”
The American Red Cross is honoring Valle for the Call of Duty Award in March, and he was selected as the UNO Veteran Student of the Year for 2015.