Maple Grove teens honored by Sheriff for acts of heroism

Two Maple Grove teenagers were honored by the Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek Wednesday, Oct. 10, for their heroic acts.

The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office presented awards to citizens who performed lifesaving acts or who made significant contributions by volunteering in their community during the “Tribute to Extraordinary Citizens.”

Kari Hawkinson and Simone Simpson, both 17, were honored with Citizen Commendation Awards. This award is given for outstanding assistance to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, the community, an organization, a citizen, or in the interest of public safety.

Both girls are lifeguards at the Maple Grove Community Center and were working at the pool on a busy day on April 7.

Maple Grove resident Simone Simpson receives a Citizen Commendation Award from Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek on Oct. 10. (Photos by Katy Zillmer)

Maple Grove resident Simone Simpson receives a Citizen Commendation Award from Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek on Oct. 10. (Photos by Katy Zillmer)

While Simone was watching the swimmers in the busy pool she notice a 4-year-old child was not active. Sheriff Stanek said Simone became concerned and entered the water to check on him. The child was unresponsive and not breathing.

At that point, according to Stanek, Simone brought the child out of the water for CPR, which she did for five rounds.

“This was really a close call,” Stanek said. “Simone your key observation paid off. There were no obvious signs of trauma, but your training allowed you to recognize a child in distress.”

Kari Hawkinson, 17, of Maple Grove was recognized by Sheriff Rich Stanek for helping with CPR to save a child’s life at the Maple Grove Community Center back in April.

Kari Hawkinson, 17, of Maple Grove was recognized by Sheriff Rich Stanek for helping with CPR to save a child’s life at the Maple Grove Community Center back in April.

Kari helped Simone in getting the child breathing again with CPR. Stanek said Kari completed a report about the near-drowning, describing how serious the boy’s condition was.

“I assure you that her description isn’t like anything on TV,” Stanek said of Kari. “Real life and real emergencies are much more difficult and even terrifying at times.”

After receiving treatment at a hospital back this past spring, the child recovered.

“These two young women truly demonstrated courage and focused on saving the life of a child,” Stanek said.

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