Local Girl Scout Honored for Saving Her Brother

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A Springfield 10-year-old Girl Scout  is being recognized for her quick thinking and bravery. Mara Skiles was awarded the medal of honor, a Girl Scout lifesaving award with national distinction.

There's a lot that goes into being a Girl Scout, like knowing the Girl Scout Honor, taking courses and lessons in things like first aid. 

But Mara Skiles took her Girl Scout skills to a whole other level, when she rescued her 5-year-old brother, Mason, from a pool last summer.

"I just saw him slide in and I yelled his name. And I just started swimming as fast as I could," explains Mara Skiles.

She was scared, but her instincts kicked in.  "I went under the water and grabbed him by his arms and kicking as fast as I could trying to get him out of the water."

In a matter of seconds Mara had pulled Mason out the water.  "I didn't want him to die." 

A bond between a sister and brother is now stronger.  "I love him so much," she says.

Laura Skiles is Mara's mother.  " If Mara and her sister hadn't noticed, if they hadn't seen it, if they hadn't reacted,  he would've been just at the bottom. I don't know how long maybe we would've noticed right away, maybe we wouldn't, it was so quiet."

Mara's parents are glad she has taken the values they have worked so hard to teach her.  "I don't think we ever taught how to save somebody. I don't think we ever taught her to go looking for an opportunity to be a hero."

Laura Skiles says Mara's reaction is an extension of what she's learned in Girl Scouts. "She's just learned that you take care of what needs to be taken care of and that's what she was doing."

Lessons learned that helped a 10-year-old respond to a lifesaving emergency situation.

Shelley Beall is Mara's Girl Scouts troop leader. She says, "I think we often forget how capable young people are and at a very early age we should start talking about these kinds of things."

Beall says she's glad to see the values the organization teaches them, is playing a role in their daily lives.  "Her troop leader talks about like they spend a lot of time talking about in a emergency what do you do here?How would you react? And what would be your thoughts?" explains Laura.

"They shouldn't just stand back and watch things happen.They should go for their dreams and jump in there and do what they know is right," says Beall.

"Just because like you don't feel your strong, you don't feel like you can do it, don't just not do it, like you have to try to save somebody, or help at least," Mara says.

The prestigious award has been a part of the Girl Scouts since the organization began in 1912. 


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