MILWAUKEE — At Mass on Wednesday, November 21st, students at St. Thomas Aquinas Academy were asked to think about what they were thankful for this Thanksgiving. For seventh-grader Arianna Carella, it’s having her grandmother still with her today.
“I was basically alone, so I had to think fast,” Carella said.
Carella found her grandmother on the kitchen floor.
“She said, ‘Just get me up and get me a glass of water. I’ll be fine.’ But I knew it was more than ‘I’ll be fine,’ so I called 911,” Carella said.
70-year-old Rita Lehrer had collapsed due to a kidney and bladder infection, which required emergency surgery. The 12-year-old’s quick thinking ultimately saved Lehrer’s life.
“If she wouldn’t of, I would’ve waited until my daughter came home, which would have been four to five hours later, so who knows what would’ve happened,” Lehrer said.
In front of the entire school Wednesday, Carella was awarded with the Girl Scouts National Lifesaving Medal of Honor for demonstrating courage, confidence and character – the three traits behind the Girl Scout mission.
“She was able to remain calm, assess the situation and then call 911. I think by helping save the life of her grandmother, she has exemplified that to the utmost degree and we are very proud of her,” Christly Brown, CEO of Girl Scouts Wisconsin Southeast said.
The Girl Scout cadet is only one of 19 girls nationwide that has received the award this year. She’s also only the second from southeast Wisconsin to receive it.
“I just can’t believe it. I really can’t. I’m happy for her. She’s just a great girl,” Lehrer said.
While Lehrer celebrates her granddaughter’s big achievement, Carella humbly says she only did what she needed to do.
“I feel excited that I did the right thing,” Carella said.