Harrisburg Asst. Principal Awarded For Heroism Following School Shooting: ‘I don’t know that I will ever forget it’

Rollinger says he doesn’t like to think about what happened on Sept. 30, 2015. However, he has a constant reminder. His office used to be Kevin Lien’s. Everyday he sits in the same spot where the Principal was shot nearly 15 months earlier.

“I don’t know that I will ever forget it. It’s one of those things that, you know, it’s a traumatic thing,” said Rollinger.

That morning, then 16-year-old Mason Buhl opened fire, shooting Lien in the arm.

“I didn’t know he had been shot until after,” said Rollinger.

Rollinger, whose office was down the hall, ran toward the sound of gunfire.

Rollinger said, “He was holding it (the gun) in his hand and pointing it at Dr. Lien.”

Rollinger thought he could sneak up on Buhl, but the student saw him coming.

“Within about 30 to 40 feet, I caught up to him and there was a little bit of tussle on the ground for the gun and then after that he basically went limp,” explained Rollinger.

Thanks to Rollinger Lien was injured, but survived.

“It wasn’t really until I went home and sat down and had time to rethink some of those thoughts of being scared or what could have happened started entering my mind,” Rollinger said.

More than a year later, Rollinger still hasn’t come to terms with being hailed as a hero. But now he might have to. He has been awarded the Carnegie Medal, given to those who risk their lives to trying to save others.

“What I did I feel is heroic, but people who sign up for a job like a firefighter, someone in the military, a police officer, who signs their name on that line and says if it comes down to it, I’ll put my life on the line for you, I see those people as who heros are.”

The same medal has been awarded to four others who are no longer with us. He says that’s what put things into perspective.

Rollinger said, “For somebody to put their life on the line and actually lose it trying to help somebody. I think that makes it even more humbling.”

Rollinger says he learned that he was nominated for the award 2-3 months after the shooting happened. He forgot about it until he received a call last week from the Carnegie Hero Fund last week about being a finalist, then a letter and email on Friday informing him that he was a recipient. Rollinger says he isn’t for sure, but suspects that Lien is the one who nominated him for the award.

Each award recipient will also receive a financial grant.