'I had to get out there': Girl Scouts honor teen scout for saving four girls from possible drowning
WEST BEND, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A Brookfield teenager was honored for rescuing her sister and friends from a near drowning in a Waushara County lake.
On Thursday morning, July 1, she earned one of the highest awards within Girl Scouts of USA.
It was just a normal moment on the lake when Isabel Zuniga-Meyer, 16, said her instincts kicked in.
"It was hard to see them in distress but I knew I had to get out there," said Isabel.
The teen did not hesitate when realizing her 12-year-old sister and three friends were in danger. They had fallen off a raft in a deep lake in Waushara County last August.
Isabel, who was already on her paddleboard, went an estimated 1,320 feet toward her 12-year-old sister and three friends.
She said she knew she'd reach them before a boat could be launched.
"I was just constantly counting in my head one, two, three, four," said Isabel.
She helped keep the girls afloat, and calm, until more support arrived.
Her quick action has now earned her a prestigious honor within Girl Scouts.
"You serve as a shining example of fortitude and dedication to Girl Scouts everywhere," said Michelle Goetsch, CFO of Girl Scouts of Wisconsin Southeast as she gave Isabel her plaque. "I present you with the Girl Scouts of USA Lifesaving Medal of Honor."
Isabel's mom, Angela, said they were with family and friends that day, and what happened gives her goosebumps.
"Because I have one that was reacting and one that needed help," said Angela Zuniga-Meyer.
Feeling helpless, she said she's proud that Isabel's Girl Scout training kicked in.
"Having the ability to just go out and apply those skills in the real world and watching it happen was one of the most incredible things I've seen," said her mom.
Out of 1.7 million Girl Scouts nationwide, the organization says no more than 40 girls receive this award each year.
For that, Isabel is honored.
"It's really cool to reflect how Girl Scouts have helped me and helped me that day to make that decision," said Isabel.
Both Isabel and her mom say that being comfortable in water and having those safety knowledge are skills all children and young people should have.