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Wash. Army National Guard medics receive medals

Soldier awarded Army Commendation Medal for saving a girl’s life

Col. Shaughnessy Hodge, commander of the 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, congratulates Pvt. Gracie Hilinski ??" who saved a little girl’s life in April ??" during a June 30 ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Olympia. Photo credit: Spc. Alec Dionne

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Pvt. Gracie Hilinski, Medical Section, Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, received an Army Commendation Medal June 30 for saving a young girl's life this April.

The other members of the team - Spc. Brandon Issacson, Sgt. Richard Schutt and Spc. Mitchell Potter -- received the Army Achievement Medal for their assistance.

The soldiers were making a routine fuel stop while performing convoy operations when they noticed that something was wrong in a nearby SUV. Hilinski reacted quickly, running to the vehicle to identify the emergency.

"You saved my daughter's life, I will never forget that," said Ayoub Soulami, the child's father, during the ceremony.

After identifying that the family's daughter was not breathing, Hilinski administered cardiopulmonary resuscitation. After several compressions, Issacson began to detect a pulse. The soldiers continued CPR while the rest of the team confirmed that civilian first responders had been contacted.

"Hilinski's actions were immediate and confident, showing all the aspects necessary in a competent and effective medic," said Issacson. "Jumping into a scene that terrifies many new EMTs, her actions saved the life of a child."

Hilinski shared many smiles, awards, and gratitude with the family at the official awards ceremony at the National Guard Armory in Olympia. Hilinski gave the Soulami's daughter a teddy bear as she conversed with her parents about the many healthy, and happy, years to come for their child.

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