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A story of courage and empathy on Otaniemi campus

Finland’s president awards Doctoral Candidate Jaakko Korhonen the Life Saving Medal for heroic action
Esa Saarinen ja Jaakko Korhonen. Kuva: Esa Saarinen.
Esa Saarinen (on the left) and Jaakko Korhonen (on the right). Image: Esa Saarinen.

Jaakko Korhonen, a doctoral candidate at Aalto University will receive the Life Saving Medal awarded by President Sauli Niinistö on 20 May. The medal rewards the great courage that Jaakko showed in March 2014.

Jaakko Korhonen had just finished lunch and was walking across campus with Professor Esa Saarinen when Saarinen was attacked with a knife. Korhonen recalls the need to act urgently.

‘It wasn’t possible to wait for help to come, it would have taken too long. The help needed to come from nearby.’

Korhonen intervened, yelling for help from nearby students, who came and took the knife away from the assailant. Working together, they helped.

The police detained the attacker and Saarinen was taken to hospital. Korhonen was relieved to hear that same evening that Saarinen was doing well.

Students scattered roses at the scene of the attack and brought a board with a message of love, goodness and joy, as well as a lantern.

‘The students wanted to show their support and to encourage people to approach each other in a loving manner. It is possible to be more open toward one another, to be more open to listen, and to be more sensitive, instead of closing up.’

‘It is well known that when adversity arises it is easier to deal with it together than alone.’

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