On September 28, 2016, Molly Hudgens, a school counselor in rural middle Tennessee, was preparing to begin her day when an 8th grader with a loaded handgun and a plan to kill people on campus came to her office. The young man told Mrs. Hudgens, “I came to you because I think you are the only one who can talk me out of this.” After ninety minutes of speaking with the young man that culminated in prayer, Hudgens convinced him to relinquish the weapon with no shots fired and no lives lost.
After a press conference the following day in which the local sheriff deemed Hudgens a “hero,” the story caught the attention of the national media. Six months later on March 25, 2017, Hudgens would be awarded the highest honor that can be bestowed upon a civilian – the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation’s Citizens Honor. The Citizens Honor recipients are chosen by a panel of the living recipients of the Medal of Honor from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Hudgens, the tenth female recipient of the Citizens Honor, is also the first recipient from the state of Tennessee as well as its first female recipient.
Hudgens continues in her role as a school counselor at the same school in which her educational career began in 1998. In addition she travels throughout the United States sharing the story of God’s preparation, protection, and intervention that morning in late September of 2016. Hudgens’ training, “Recognizing Red Flags: Our Role in Preventing School Violence,” has been instrumental in training law enforcement, juvenile court, educators, counselors, and other organizations since its inception in 2009. Mrs. Hudgens resides on the family farm in Tennessee with her husband, Jason, her two sons, Bradley and Henry, and their dog, Cody.