SALEM, Ohio (WKBN) – Two years ago, Melinda Wilms was camping at Mosquito Lake in Trumbull County when she heard cries for help.
“I could hear ‘We’re not kidding… We need help.’ I yelled I had some training, how could I help?” Wilms said.
Acting on her lifeguard training from back in college, Wilms jumped into action.
She swam out and rescued a twelve-year-old boy from drowning.
“It’s spontaneous. I mean, it happens without reflection or without thought, without concern for personal safety or regard. I think that is unbelievable,” said Bill Johnson, Sixth District representative.
Wilms was selected to receive a Carnegie Medal for her brave acts, a prestigious award with a strict criteria.
“An individual must risk his or her life to an extraordinary degree to save, or attempt to save, the life of another human being,” said Eric Zahren, president of the Carnegie Hero Fund.
Wilms says she is humbled to have received this award and hopes it inspires people to be good citizens.
“Just look out for each other, help each other whenever you can, be respectful, be kind but certainly look out for each other,” she said.
On average, about 700 to 800 cases are nominated a year, but only about 10% of those are actually awarded the Carnegie Medal.