Young lifesaver earns Medal of Honor
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CUTLINE: Stephanie Nuss of Fayette will receive the Medal of Honor from the Northeast Iowa and Western Illinois Girl Scout Recognition Committee for her brave effort in saving one woman’s life last August while on a North Fayette Spanish Club trip to Costa Rica. Enjoying a zip-lining adventure on the trip were (front, l-r) Mackenzie Whelan, Regan Wolverton, Linzey Hubbell, Aleya Stanbrough, Blair Snyder, Alex Wulfekuhle; (middle) Sherri Imoehl, Josh Baumler, Emily Spies, Hayley Mork, Kelsey Feldman, Callie Blakey, Brianna Bemiss Thompson, Andrea Schultz, Barbara Bowers; (back) Alexis Caldwell, Logan Radloff, Jameson Taylor, Trace Heyer, Jeff Richmond, Stephanie Nuss, Ron Imoehl.
Young lifesaver earns Medal of Honor
By Amber Hovey
Stephanie Nuss of Fayette received a Medal of Honor from the Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois (GSEIWI) for saving a woman’s life in Costa Rica.
Nuss had taken a trip to Costa Rica with the North Fayette Spanish Club last August. Accompanying the group was Andrea Schultz, a Spanish and English teacher from Granton High School in Wisconsin.
In Costa Rica, the group participated in service opportunities while experiencing the Hispanic culture and practicing the Spanish language.
On one particular day, the group went to the beach on Las Islas Tortugas, where they had the opportunity to try a few different activities. Five of the group, along with two men and a woman, chose to ride in a banana boat that was pulled behind a larger boat out into the Pacific Ocean.
“The waves were kind of big,” described Nuss.
The banana boat unexpectedly flipped, sending the passengers into the water.
“When I came up to the surface of the water, I saw this woman with her face in the water,” described Nuss. “I quickly swam over to her and pulled her on her back so her head was above water.
“I think I was a little scared, but when I saw her, I just reacted. She grabbed my wrist and started pushing me under. I responded by trying to keep her afloat,” continued the young heroine.
After five minutes of keeping the woman, who spoke neither Spanish nor English very well, above water, Schultz came to Nuss’ aid.
The recent North Fayette grad was then able to climb back onto the banana boat and proceeded to assist the unknown woman as well as the other passengers to get onboard.
“Later we found out that the lady that Steph had saved was actually pregnant, so technically, she saved two lives!” said Callie Blakey, another student on the trip, in a letter to the GSEIWI Recognition Committee.
“Because this woman was so out of her element, if Stephanie was not there to help, she truly may have drowned,” said Schultz. “Stephanie managed to remain calm. I considered her efforts to be quite valiant.”
For the lifesaver, receiving the Medal of Honor is a surprise and honor.
“I think anybody in my place would have done the same. It was just the right thing to do,” closed Nuss.
Nuss was notified in May that she received the award, but has not yet gotten the actual award.
The North Fayette graduate plans to attend Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge this fall to study nursing.