HERO RESCUE: “Something took over and I just kicked into gear.”

January 15, 2024

I don’t consider myself a hero. I happened to be the first one there and a job needed to be done. And like I said before, I was there to do that job.

Vermont State Police Trooper Michelle Archer in an interview with WCAX on a rescue of an eight-year-old she performed in mid-December, after the girl and her sibling had fallen into an icy pond. Vermont State Police released footage of the rescue on Friday, sharing that those who assisted in the effort “have been recommended to receive the agency’s Lifesaving Award.”

Why It Matters: On December 17, two Vermont State Police troopers responded to a call after two siblings fell through ice covering a pond. Before Archer arrived on the scene, an 80-year-old homeowner “was able to reach and pull to safety a 6-year-old girl who was close to the shore, but the 8-year-old was further away, near the center of the deep pond,” the Vermont State Police said in a news release. The homeowner called the police, and Archer arrived in less than five minutes, quickly entering the pond and swimming out to the girl. After bringing her to shore, State Trooper Keith Cote carried the girl to an ambulance. She was then taken to a hospital for injuries first thought to be life-threatening. However, the girl has “since made a complete recovery and returned home” (Vermont State Police).

Big Picture: Though this rescue occurred in December, it serves as a reminder about the dangers of cold weather. Severe winter weather is currently impacting much of the United States, with millions facing warnings of freezing conditions, snow and wind chill. NBC News reports that “The deaths of three unhoused men in the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, area are being investigated as possible hypothermia cases,” and “At least five other people have died in weather-related deaths in the extreme winter weather.”

Important Reminder: According to the Mayo Clinic, “Hypothermia is a medical emergency that occurs when your body loses heat faster than it can produce heat, causing a dangerously low body temperature. Normal body temperature is around 98.6 F (37 C). Hypothermia (hi-poe-THUR-me-uh) occurs as your body temperature falls below 95 F (35 C).”

Read More: Vermont State Police News Release

State trooper plunges into icy Vermont pond to save 8-year-old girl (The Associated Press)

VSP Troopers save girl from drowning (WCAX)

by Leah Grainery, based in Texas