Farmingdale, NJ – (February 1, 2022) – Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore McKayla Havemann-Fordyce has earned Girl Scouts of the USA’s rare national lifesaving award, the Medal of Honor. McKayla, a 10-year-old Brownie Girl Scout, saved her grandmother Nancy’s life by her heroic actions. Due to her quick thinking and action when her grandmother required emergency health services, her grandmother was able to get the care necessary for a positive outcome.
On June 22, 2021, McKayla’s grandmother was experiencing shortness of breath and pains in her chest. Suffering from COPD, she knew she was having more of a hard time than usual. She called for McKayla and told her she needed help. McKayla helped get her to the kitchen to get her to a seated position. Nancy became visibly distressed and started becoming light-headed. She told McKayla she would need to call 911. McKayla remembered her training from Girl Scouts and how to give correct information to first responders. McKayla stayed calm and stayed with Nancy until she heard the sirens at which time she went outside to help first responders find where Nancy was in the home.
Raymond Suiter Jr., Firefighter, Jackson Fire District #3, praised McKayla, saying, “In any emergency, people can become frazzled or erratic, but McKayla was able to follow the proper steps in a calm and collected manner. Her actions undoubtedly contributed to her grandmother’s positive outcome. Her poise in the face of an emergent situation is to be commended, and she is certainly deserving of the Medal of Honor.”
She then proceeded to go to a neighbor’s house to look for help, but no one was home. McKayla knew to call her mother at work but, she did not respond. McKayla then called her emergency contact person on her phone and waited with first responders until her emergency contact person arrived. McKayla remained totally calm throughout the event and Nancy’s doctors said that had she not known what to do Nancy would have suffocated from the collapsed lung.
Mohamed Elsawaf, MD, physician at Shore Pulmonary, Ocean NJ, extended his gratitude to McKayla for her heroic actions in the care of her grandmother, saying, “Due to her quick thinking and action when her grandmother required emergency health services, her grandmother was able to get the care our group provided at the hospital for a life-threatening situation. She conducted herself with composure and maturity and we are all very proud of her.”
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Recognizing this act of bravery, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Interim CEO Heather Coburn said, “McKayla performed a heroic act beyond the degree of maturity and training to be expected at her age. Girl Scouts are encouraged to be resourceful, skilled, and ready to help others—McKayla’s quick thinking and exceptional judgment is inspiring to us all.”
McKayla’s grandmother is recovering from a collapsed lung. McKayla will be recognized at Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore Annual meeting.
About Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore
Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore serves nearly 10,000 girls ages 5-18 in Monmouth and Ocean counties, providing a time-tested leadership experience that inspires and motivates them to take action for themselves and their communities. For over 110 years, Girl Scouts has helped girls become women of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. For information on how to join, volunteer, partner or donate, visit www.GSFun.org or call (800) 785-2090.