- Nicole Villalpando American-Statesman Staff
Sylvie Mider is a life-saver. Officially. The 11-year-old Barton Hills Elementary School fifth-grader will get the National Lifesaving Award Medal of Honor from Girl Scouts this spring for her cool head and quick thinking when she was camping with her father and brother at a Boy Scouts camping trip at Camp Green Dickson in Gonzales last April.
They had had a great day: Fishing, hiking, cooking, roasting s’mores. Then, around 2:30 a.m., Sylvie was having trouble sleeping, as she often does when camping. She noticed that her father was moving around in a weird way. “I said, ‘Hey, Dad, are you OK?’ and he said he was fine,” but she didn’t like the way he was acting. She asked him what he was doing and he said he didn’t know, she remembers.
Sylvie knew something was wrong with her father, and she sensed that his blood sugar was too low. David Mider is diabetic, and Sylvie had seen this happen to him before.
“If I didn’t notice he was sick or needed help, something terrible was going to happen,” Sylvie says.
Sylvie remembered a lesson she learned at a Girl Scout troop meeting when a nurse came to teach first-aid. “People who panic never do well in bad situations.” She told herself, “I’m not going to panic. I’m going to keep my head,” she says.
She woke up her younger brother Rawley and they went to the tent next door to get adults Tommy and Jamie Perkins. They tried to give Mider a granola bar, but he wouldn’t eat it. Sylvie remembered that the pack leader was a doctor and she and another leader hopped into a car and went to get Dr. Matt Brimberry, who was in another part of the camp with the older boys.
Brimberry was able to find Mider’s glucose test strips to see how low his sugar was and glucose gel to bring up his sugar levels.
Jamie Perkins writes in the nomination for the award: “Even as she heard us call 911 and go to get the doctor who was at our campground, she managed to maintain her composure and continued to help by providing information when it was needed. She could not have handled the situation better. Her bravery and quick action led to a successful outcome. Sylvie is a hero in my mind.”
Within a few minutes, Mider became coherent again, and they called off EMS, which was 30 minutes away from the campground. “She was the catalyst to rectifying a serious situation,” wrote Rhoda Brimberry, wife of Matt Brimberry, in the application.
“I’m so proud of her for keeping her head and having the confidence to recognize what’s happening, taking responsibility and going to get the right people to help me out,” David Mider said.