Madison L. Williams, second from right, holding the Carnegie Medal, with her family, from left, grandmother Jan Williams, great-grandfather Carrol McIntosh, and mother Leigh Williams.
Williams suggested holding the May 18, 2017, medal presentation at the Brookdale Marysville retirement community in Marysville, Ohio, where her great-grandfather was a resident. Several friends and family members attended the ceremony, as well as many residents from the facility.
A year earlier, Madison forced herself, head-first, through a 12-inch wide opening into a septic tank in which a 2-year-old boy had fallen. While others held to her legs, she skimmed the surface of 4 feet of sewage until she grasped the boys foot and, grasping it, shouted for others to pull her and the boy up.
“That type of selflessness on the part of someone so young, I think it should give us all hope,” said Eric P. Zahren, executive director of the Hero Fund who presented the award to Madison. “Hope that someone like Madison is out there, still willing to risk her life for another human being.”
In addition, Mary Holley, Madison’s neighbor who witnessed the rescue spoke at the ceremony.
“I don’t know very many 13 year olds who would volunteer to be lowered into a septic system to try to pull somebody out of it. She’s a great person, “Holley said. “I’m very proud of her because if it were not for her that little boy would have died that night.”