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Sheriff honors Juneau hero: Girl calls 911, helps save mother’s life

February 26, 2019

JUNEAU — On the surface, Izabella Stillwell appears to be like many other 9-year-old girls, but she is so much more.

The girl resides in rural Juneau and is home-schooled by her grandmother and martial arts instructor, Denise Olson. Izabella takes ninja warrior, taekwondo and gymnastics classes.

She is also a hero, thanks to the important lessons she learned and used Feb. 15.

That morning, Izabella was with her younger brothers and sister with their mother, Emily Swamp. Swamp suffered a medical emergency and lost consciousness.

Izabella called 911, and connected with dispatcher Cheryl Kotek. Although obviously upset, she managed to listen to Kotek, and to follow some basic instructions. One of the key instructions was to turn her mother on her side, which prevented her from choking. Kotek stayed connected until Juneau EMS personnel arrived a short time later.

“Izabella began giving very specific information including her address and phone number,” Dodge County Sheriff Dale Schmidt said at Martial Arts America in Juneau last Tuesday. That night, Schmidt presented a letter of commendation to Izabella, calling her a hero.

“She was asked a series of questions and very clearly gave lifesaving information so that the ambulance and law enforcement could respond to help,” Schmidt said. “She did a fantastic job, and was a great leader. She took the initiative to make the call that helped save her mom’s life.

“Izabella made sure that her mom would survive and be there for her brothers and sister as they all grow up. We are proud of her for her exemplary work and lifesaving efforts.”

A line of other people waited to congratulate Izabella that night, including Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel, Kotek and Juneau EMS crew members.

She also received thunderous applause from a large crowd of students and parents.

“Sheriff Schmidt called me that same day and said ‘We need to recognize this,’” Martial Arts America owner and instructor Scott Krenz said. “He was very impressed by her actions, and so are all of us here at Martial Arts America.”

Grandma Denise and Grandpa Raymond both beamed with pride.

“Yes, Izabella was emotional when she first made the call, but she did exactly what she was told by the dispatcher and that helped save her mother’s life,” her grandmother said.

“My grandma taught me what to do,” said Izabella, who dried her tears as she gave a shy smile.

She turned 10 Sunday, celebrating with her family.

“She was asked a series of questions and very clearly gave lifesaving information so that the ambulance and law enforcement could respond to help. She did a fantastic job, and was a great leader. She took the initiative to make the call that saved her mom’s life.” <&textAlign: right>Dale Schmidt, Dodge County Sheriff