Illinois Girl Scout earns Medal of Honor for saving a man’s life

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O’FALLON, Ill. – O’Fallon third grade Girl Scout Gretel Ulmer received the Girl Scouts’ Medal of Honor for doing her part in saving her neighbor’s life last October.

“I felt happy that he got to the hospital okay, and I felt like I was actually part of a group that helped too,” Gretel said.

Gretel’s mother, Pamela, was out with her selling Girl Scout nuts and candy to raise money for her troop when she saw Henry Gaddis, a man in his 80s, lying on the ground.

“Gretel was ahead of me and actually when she was going up to the driveway and saw this gentleman laying on the drive, I thought it was a man working on his car, we had no idea this man was hurt and asking for help. We didn’t realize he was hurt until he raised his arm up and couldn’t talk, then Gretel knew we were in an emergency and the fact that she didn’t panic or cry, she just knew that he needed help,” Pamela Ulmer said.

Gaddis had an oral procedure done earlier that day, and the mixing of medications caused him to become unresponsive and collapse.

Gretel’s health and safety training she’d received from her troop kicked in immediately.

“As her troop leader, I like to think and hope that whatever I prepare and teach them that they’re taking it into thought and consideration,” Gretel’s Troop Leader Michele Pratt said.

Gretel’s mother is a former Girl Scout and is extremely proud of Gretel’s actions. She appreciates all the life skills the scouts have taught her daughter.

I think learning about the commitment to diversity and being kind to our neighbors and being of service to our neighbors came from that Brownie quest journey that our leader took us on,” Pamela Ulmer said.

The Medal of Honor is not something that Girl Scout volunteers have their scouts actively work towards.

“It’s a two-fold medal. You can have the Medal of Honor where there’s no potential harm to the Girl Scout and then there’s the Medal of Honor where there could potentially be hard to the Girl Scout and we really don’t want either one to be earned, so to speak,” Debbie McAuliffe, Girl Scout Service Unit Manager of O’Fallon, Shiloh and Fairview Heights, said.

Girl Scouts have been earning this honor since 1913.

In order to receive the Girl Scouts’ Medal of Honor, Pamela Ulmer told the council office of Gretel’s heroism, they then sent the information to the Girl Scouts of the USA who then look over the nominations and hand out the honors.

Loretta Graham the CEO of the Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois will be visiting Gretel’s house to give her the award.

“I will tell you, this is just the beginning of what this young lady is going to do in this society,” Graham said.

Gretel said she likes helping people but she also enjoys helping animals.

“I want to be a teacher, but I want to be a veterinarian,” Gretel said.

Graham said its girls like Gretel who live out the Girl Scout oath that makes the world a better place.

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