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Salem Girl Scout receives National Lifesaving Award for heroic efforts to save her father’s life


Lifesaving Medal of Honor August 9, 2016

Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast (GSWISE) announces that in recognition of heroic efforts that resulted in saving her father’s life, Katelyn Hannah, 12, of Salem, a Girl Scout Cadette and seventh-grader at the time of the incident at Salem Consolidated Grade School in Salem, has received the Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Medal of Honor Award. During any given year and out of more than 2 million Girl Scouts, no more than 30 girls nationwide receive this prestigious award. Katelyn will be recognized during a special flag ceremony with Girl Scouts as follows:

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 – 3:30 - 4:00 p.m.
Camp Pottawatomie Hills (rain or shine)
N8005 Pleasant Lake Road, East Troy, WI

On an afternoon this past November, Katelyn was working with her father, mother and three siblings to clean up their garage. As the work was nearing an end, Katelyn’s father, Chris retreated to the attic to determine the cause of a leak in their roof. Katelyn had finished her work, excused herself, and went to play in the living room when she heard a loud noise coming from their three-season porch. She immediately went to the porch and discovered her father had fallen through the attic to the porch, approximately eight feet, landing on a concrete floor. He was lying bleeding and unresponsive due to his injuries. Katelyn remained calm, enlisted her 9-year-old brother to alert their mother, and called 911 to relay details between her mother and the dispatcher. In the heat of the situation, Katelyn also protected her siblings by following dispatcher’s orders after closing the call and taking them to their neighbor’s house before paramedics arrived so they did not have to witness the situation.  Chris was treated for a punctured collapsed lung, head lacerations, eleven broken ribs, and a broken clavicle and spent a week in the Intensive Care Unit for treatment of his injuries.

“At only 12 years old, I realized the safety training that has been a regular part of our Girl Scout experience has provided her with the necessary tools to assist in a life-threatening emergency,” said Katelyn’s mother, Tracy Hannah.

“During this traumatic accident, Katelyn showed courage and leadership, helping her mom and providing support to her brother and sisters while her mom cared for her dad. She was clear in her thoughts and remained calm with the 911 operator to provide the dispatcher all of the pertinent information,” said Hal Ditzig, neighbor, firefighter and EMT of the Bristol Fire Department.

Lifesaving Awards have been a part of Girl Scouts since Girl Scouting began in the United States in 1912. These awards recognize Girl Scouts from 5-17 years of age who have heroically saved or attempted to save a life, demonstrating skills and judgment beyond the degree of maturity and training to be expected at their age. There are two Lifesaving Awards — the Lifesaving Bronze Cross is given for saving a life or attempting to save a life with risk to the candidate’s own life and the Lifesaving Medal of Honor is given for saving a life or attempting to save a life without risk to the candidate’s own life. Katelyn earned the Lifesaving Medal of Honor.

“The mission of Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place,” said Christy L. Brown, chief executive officer of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast. “Katelyn is a living testament to the highest principles of the Girl Scout Promise and Law and we could not be prouder of her achievement.”