2 Teen Lifeguards Honored for Saving Child in Maple Grove

Updated: 10/12/2012 7:53 AM KSTP.com By: Naomi Pescovitz

This week, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek honored two high school seniors for saving the life of a four-year-old boy this spring.

On Wednesday night, Kari Hawkinson and Simone Simpson were presented the Sheriff's Citizen Commendation Award.

In April, the 17-year-old lifeguards were working on a busy day at the Maple Grove Community Center Pool.

"Kids love doing this dead man's float, where they are all just on their stomachs see how long they can hold their breaths," Simpson said. "I was scanning the pool and when I came back and scanned, four had popped up and one had not."

Simpson noticed vomit near the child's body, jumped in and pulled him out. Hawkinson then ran over from her position and the two young women began performing CPR.

"She was doing the chest compressions, and I was doing the rescue breathing," Simpson said.

Together, they saved the boy's life.

"Right when the paramedics were coming through the door, he screamed at the top of his lungs and that's how we knew he was back," Simpson said.

Simpson now lifeguards at the YMCA of Metropolitan Minneapolis North Community Youth & Teen Enrichment Center. Though she and Hawkinson are heroes, they say they cannot do it alone.

"The lifeguards aren't there to babysit. We had, at that time, there were 50 people in the pool, and we can only take care of so many people," Simpson said.

"We are doing our best to make sure that everybody is being watched and everybody is safe and that nothing bad is going on but we really need the help by the parents if they can be there, just to make sure that they are watching their kids because our eyes can't be everywhere at once," Hawkinson said.