School Resource Officer Michael Wissink, Oshkosh West student Duaa Ahmad and Oshkosh West teacher/football coach Ken Levine appeared at the State Capitol Thursday to be honored as Hometown Heroes in front of the State Assembly.
Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz (D-Oshkosh) presented the members of his district before the floor. The trio was honored for the actions they took on Dec. 3, 2019. That’s when a student stabbed Officer Wissink in his office. There was a struggle and the officer fired a shot to stop the threat.
Ken Levine ran from his classroom to help Officer Wissink, who had been stabbed and shot himself in the leg during the struggle with the student. Levine made a tourniquet to help stop the bleeding.
As students and staff ran from the school, Duaa Ahmad let about 100 students inside the nearby Ahmadiyya Muslim Community mosque where her family worships, giving them comfort and safety.
During the ceremony, Rep. Hintz quoted Mr. Rogers’ famous line about looking for helpers in times of tragedy. Hintz says Officer Wissink, Duaa Ahmad and Ken Levine represent the best of humanity.
“When I think about the helpers I think about the helpers we are honoring here today,” said Rep. Hintz.
Police officers and school leaders were also on hand for the ceremony and thanked for their quick response.
“We are comforted knowing that we have heroes like Officer Wissink, Ken Levine and Duaa Ahmad in our midst,” said Hintz.
Duaa Ahmad and Ken Levine each delivered statements before the Assembly. Officer Wissink was there in uniform, but did not deliver a statement.
“I am deeply humbled by this great honor and for your generosity for a rather ordinary act on my part. That day was not easy and it still causes me deep anxiety. But what is really remarkable is how Oshkosh as a community came together,” said Duaa.
“What brings me greater comfort is how all of us came together and looked at that building across the street as simply a shelter and not by a certain label. It was not me who yelled, ‘go to the mosque.’ It was another student. I was just someone who opened the door. And I do not have any doubt that one of those other 100 students would’ve done exactly the same.
“The fact that students rushed to the mosque without any inhibition is what makes me so proud to be from Wisconsin.”
Levine was also humbled by the honor.
“Getting an award because of that horrible day seems very strange. This horrific event still causes me feelings of anger and fear in myself and in others,” said Levine.
“I’m not sure I’ll ever understand the motives behind events like this and it sickens me that the word ‘events’ has to be plural.”
Levine told stories of acts of compassion from that day, and how he witnessed his community rise up to respect each other.
“When I heard him yelling for help–Mike’s probably the toughest guy I know–I knew it was bad,” said Levine. “I don’t know why I chose to run in that direction. I do know that if Mike wasn’t as tough and caring as he is, I would’ve been the next victim that day.”
Levine said Officer Wissink is the true hero of that day. “Mike showed compassion for everyone in the school that day–including his attacker.
In an emotional plea, Levine noted witnessing growing disrespect in the world, and asked everyone to consider respect and compassion for all.
“We as adults have the duty to set good examples for kids. We can do this in our everyday actions which are publicized more and more on social media–or anti-social media, as I see it,” said Levine.
“We all need to make a more conscious effort to respect others in our thoughts and actions and keep building on the good work we’re all capable of.”