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Andy Simek | Democrat

ALYSSA GADOURY, RIGHT, was honored for saving her step-brother, Chris Hardenbergh, from drowning in their swimming pool. Chris is pictured above in his mother Lisa’s arms, certainly grateful to be safe and well.

Girl, 5, Saves Brother From Drowning

By Andy Simek
LIBERTY — June 26, 2007 — In times of great stress and danger, the heroes we think of are usually in uniform; firefighters, police officers and soldiers all come to mind.
Little girls in bathing suits, however, usually do not.
5-year-old Alyssa Gadoury does indeed wear this uniform, and although she is slight in stature, she is a hero nonetheless.
Thursday, at Liberty Elementary School, Alyssa was given an award for saving her 2-year-old step-brother from drowning in their swimming pool.
“I was swimming in the pool and then my brother fell in and then I swam over with a soccer ball and saved his life,” the heroic kindergartner explained nonchalantly.
Her mother, Lisa Hardenbergh, said Alyssa, who is just learning how to swim, grabbed a soccer ball and stuck it under her shirt to help her and her brother stay afloat.
She then immediately started calling for help at which point Lisa, who had turned her back for no more than a minute, ran over to get both of her children out of the pool.
“I’m glad she reacted when she did,” Lisa said. “She’s a very smart little girl.”
The award was presented to Alyssa for her bravery and heroism on that day in late May by Liberty Police Chief Michael DeFrank and Liberty Police Officer Anthony Dos Santos.
Dos Santos’ reaction to the matter was part surprise and part relief, a feeling shared by all of Alyssa’s proud family members.
Dos Santos summed it up perfectly: “That was really quick thinking for a 5-year-old.”

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