Medal CeremonyCadet Jordan Villar-Cayabyab, right, with Lt. Col. Kenneth Morse, commander of Sac State's Air Force ROTC program. (Sacramento State/Jessica Vernone) More photos

Cadet Jordan Villar-Cayabyab saved a man’s life earlier this semester. For his heroism, he received the Air Force ROTC Silver Valor Award on Friday, May 13, at the Sacramento State Air Force ROTC program's annual awards ceremony in Del Norte Hall Auditorium.

The ceremony took place after Sac State’s annual Air Force ROTC Parade with Cadet Wing Change of Command on the intramural field near Yosemite Hall.

While working behind the counter Feb. 18, at Suisun Seafood Center, Villar-Cayabyab noticed an elderly man choking on his food. Three bystanders were unable to effectively respond. Within seconds, Villar-Cayabyab cleared the surrounding area and performed the Heimlich maneuver on the man, ultimately saving his life.

“I didn’t have a split second to think about it,” Villar-Cayabyab says. “I saw the man and he was in dire need. I just reacted on instinct.”

He notes that he originally was not scheduled to work that day, nor had he received formal CPR training – it was just something he had seen in movies. He credits the Sac State ROTC program for teaching him how to react in a stressful environment.

“That’s the kind of leadership and taken initiative that we want in our Air Force officers,” says Lt. Col. Kenneth Morse, commander of Sac State’s Air Force ROTC program.

Villar-Cayabyab received the Silver Valor Award, the second highest possible ROTC award, from Morse. The 20-year-old Fairfield native was raised in a military family. He is a sophomore cadet in the Sac State Air Force ROTC program and a business major at Solano Community College. Villar-Cayabyab’s ultimate goal is to be a combat systems operator for the Air Force, and he is well on his way.

For more information about the Air Force ROTC program, visit or call (916) 278-7783. – Jayla Lee

In the media:

"ROTC cadet's quick thinking saves man's life," KCRA 3

"Sacramento State ROTC cadet honored for lifesaving aid," The Sacramento Bee