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Washington Guard Recognizes Soldiers for Saving Girl’s Life

OLYMPIA, Wash. --

Four Washington National Guard soldiers received medals June 30 for their quick action in saving a girl’s life while their convoy was fueling up April 6.

During a ceremony at the National Guard Armory here, Army Pvt. Gracie Hilinski, assigned to the medical section of Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment, received an Army Commendation Medal.

The other members of the team -- Army Spc. Brandon Issacson, Army Sgt. Richard Schutt and Army Spc. Mitchell Potter -- received Army Achievement Medals 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,” Ayoub Soulami, the child’s father, said during the ceremony.

After confirming that the family’s daughter, Lilya Soulami, was not breathing, Hilinski administered CPR. 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,” Issacson said. “Jumping into a scene that terrifies many new [emergency medical technicians], her actions saved the life of a child.”

Hilinski shared many smiles, awards and gratitude with the family and gave Lilya a teddy bear as she conversed with her parents about the girl’s many healthy and happy years to come.