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Milwaukee Girl Scout receives Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Award for heroic efforts to save grandmother's life

Nov. 23, 2012

In recognition of heroic efforts that resulted in saving her grandmother’s life, Arianna Marie Carella, 12, of Milwaukee, a Girl Scout Cadette and seventh-grader at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy, received the Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Award this morning during a presentation at her school. Arianna is one of only 23 girls nationwide to receive a Lifesaving Award so far this year.

This past April, Arianna was the first person to discover her grandmother, Rita Lehrer, 70, incapacitated on the kitchen floor. Arianna kept calm, assessed the situation, and decided without delay to call 911, while keeping her grandmother, younger sister, and father calm until help arrived.

“I was present when Rita was brought into our emergency room. I was asking questions as to what happened when she collapsed, and discovered that the singular deciding factor as to whether she lived or died lay in Arianna’s hands that day,” said Jordan Nelson, clinical laboratory lead at Wheaton Franciscan Laboratories – St. Francis. Nelson was one of several individuals who wrote a recommendation letter for Arianna.

Nelson went on to say, “Arianna knew when she saw her grandmother on the floor that it was not a mere accidental fall. By reading the context clues of the situation, she saw her grandmother was in grave danger and needed help immediately. Normally with children of Arianna’s age, they would reach out to an adult before making such a decision – but Arianna knew that would cost precious seconds that Rita didn’t have.”

“I don’t remember a lot of the detail, but do remember Arianna keeping me calm,” said Lehrer. “Her actions got me to the hospital rapidly and I received the care I needed. I am very proud of her and I thank her for her actions.”

Arianna credits Girl Scouting for making her prepared to make the right decisions that day – she says, “Girl Scouting has taught me to be a leader, use the resources I have around me, and to think outside of the box.”

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. Thus far in 2012, nineteen girls nationwide have received the Medal of Honor and four girls have received the Bronze Cross.

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

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