Christy Bray, 14, was awarded the Girl Scout Medal of Honor in a short ceremony on the evening of Oct. 8.
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The award, given at an El Dorado County Girl Scout troop leader meeting at the El Dorado County Office of Education board room, is given to Girl Scouts “who have saved a human life or attempted to save it under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk to their own lives and who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity and training to be expected at their age,” according to the Girl Scouts Website.
Christy is credited with helping save the life of her sister, Carly, 17, on March 1. Carly had been waiting at a school bus stop on a snowy morning when a car lost control, slamming into Carly and pinning her to a power pole. A guy wire from the pole severed Carly’s right leg.
While Tom Braithwaite was tying a tourniquet around Carly’s leg, he enlisted Christy, who was already on another bus at the bus stop, to keep her sister conscious.
At the ceremony, Teresa Schoener, a Girl Scout service unit manager, presented the award to Christy, explaining what it was for, and that the Girl Scout had “reason to be proud.”
In a world focused on young people making wrong choices, Schoener told the assembled crowd of about 35 people, “it’s wonderful to hear of a child making the right choices,” calling Christy a “living testament” to the ideals of the organization.
Schoener, accompanied by Stacia Koeckrite, Christy’s troop leader, and Nikki Mills, volunteer management specialist, also announced that Christy would be presented with the award a second time on Feb. 9, 2013, at a Girl Scout Heart of Central California meeting, where all scouts in the HoCC area, covering 18 counties of Central California, are invited. The award will be presented by Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chavez.
Christy was met with a standing ovation as she was handed the certificate enclosed in glass and the medal itself, with Carly, now outfitted with a prosthesis and crutches, joining her sister at the front of the room.
As the applause died down, Koeckrite said it required two letters of support for consideration for the award. They were written by the local fire department and Braithwaite.
She noted that while Braithwaite was not in attendance, his family was. Koeckrite called the medal “extremely rare” and Schoener noted that she had not heard of the medal until Christy was up for consideration.
The regular troop leader meeting continued as those assembled for the Brays began eating cake to celebrate.
“I’m really, really immensely happy,” Christy said after receiving the award, which she only learned about earlier that day. “Because it just shows people care.” She also noted that people should do good regardless of awards.
As for having to receive the award again at the larger meeting, she said she was “very nervous, but also really happy.”
Looking forward, she said she is going to “Go out, do community service. I’ll continue helping people as much as I can.”
Carly, meanwhile, has been doing well since the accident.
“It’s been good. It’s been long, but it’s been good,” she said of the seven months since the accident.
She pointed to her prosthesis, saying that she would be getting a second socket in a few weeks.
“The leg was too high, they had to lower the calves,” she said. “They don’t match, so they are going to shave three or four inches.”
The second socket will be able to rotate 360 degrees, she said. The final touch will be airbrushing a graphic on the side of the prosthesis.