An Assumption boy with autism is alive and well two months after the quick reactions of 10-year-old cousins saved him from a perilous dip in a neighborhood pond.
Brailynn Demoulin and Sierra Lauharn were each awarded $50, a Civilian Award Certificate, and a commemorative coin Aug. 10 at the Metamora Fire Department for their parts in rescuing the seven-year-old boy as he struggled in the water. Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller credited the girls for their alertness, saying, “If you think about it, it could have been worse.”
Brailynn and Sierra, who was visiting from Oakshade, were riding their bike and hoverboard down Simon Street in Assumption the evening of June 23 when they decided to check out a pond set back behind the house on a neighbor’s property. Minutes earlier, Brailynn’s mother, Staci Miller, had asked the girls to watch for the boy, who had been seen wandering the neighborhood alone.
Sierra spotted the boy in the pond and alerted Brailynn, who at first thought he was a buoy. Brailynn stood watch as Sierra raced back to Miller. “She said, ‘That boy’s in the pond,” Miller said.
Miller went to a neighbor’s house for assistance, and the couple there sent their grandson, Jordan Ewing, to help rescue the boy. When they arrived at the pond the child “was up and down in the water,” Miller said. “He turned around, and I realized it really was the boy.”
She jumped in, grabbed hold of him, and carried him to the pond’s edge, where Ewing pulled him out. Metamora EMTs were dispatched, with assistance from the Fulton County Sheriff’s Office. The boy was treated at a local hospital.
It was only later that a neighbor of Miller who works at Evergreen Elementary School in Metamora told her the boy attends the school and is autistic and non-verbal. He had apparently wandered from his home on their street.
Miller said the attending paramedics “thanked the girls a million times. I’m super proud of them, and I’m glad they actually listened to me and looked – kept an eye out.”
At last week’s ceremony at the fire station, Brailynn and Sierra were presented T-shirts that proclaim them heroes, the cash award, and commendations from both the fire department and the sheriff’s office “in recognition of a commendable contribution to the community.” The sheriff’s office also awarded each girl a special coin commemorating their heroics that Sheriff Miller said is rarely awarded to anyone.
“The sheriff said, ‘We don’t give these out too often, only to people who do something good,’” Miller recalled. She said the girls were told at the ceremony, “You guys are heroes. What you did was very brave.”
Sheriff Miller said he was relieved the girls didn’t try to rescue the boy themselves, particularly since the boy was struggling.
“The bigger thing that amazes me is they were well aware of the situation enough that they could have put themselves in danger if they would have went out there,” he said. “Thank goodness they didn’t attempt to go out there, because as young as they are you don’t know what would have happened.”
In fact, he said, he heard multiple comments commending Brailynn and Sierra on their good judgment.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.