Glen Carbon, Illinois –   Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois (GSSI) is pleased to announce that four local Girl Scouts recently received the Girl Scout Medal of Honor.  The Medal of Honor is a lifesaving award given by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to girls who have saved or attempted to save a human life under circumstances that indicate heroism.  This award is reserved for those Girl Scouts who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity and training to be expected at their age.

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Twins Brianna and Brittany McGehee, 11, of Mt. Vernon.Brianna and Brittany McGehee, twins from Mt. Vernon, were 11 years old in June 2014 when they came to the aid of their sister Shelia.  Brianna and Brittany were going to babysit for Shelia’s three young children when they found their sister face down on the bathroom floor.  From their Girl Scout First Aid/CPR training, the girls believed Shelia showed signs of having had a stroke.  Brittany and Brianna called the hospital and turned Shelia to her side.  With their First Aid training and assistance from the hospital operator, the girls gave their sister aspirin and cool rags and kept her talking.  Once stable, Brianna and Brittany helped their sister into their mother’s truck to go to the hospital.  “We had CPR/First Aid training, but it was really scary when it’s your own sister that you love,” said Brianna.  “I’m glad that I was going to babysit that day and that I have my First Aid/CPR certificate,” added Brittany.  Brianna and Brittany are the daughters of Gary and Donna McGehee.

Cheyenne Chalkus, 18, of SalemCheyenne Chalkus of Salem was 18 years old last August when she saved the life of her 22 month old nephew Skyler.  Cheyenne was sitting on the deck of her family home when Skyler and two other nephews were playing in the hot tub close by and her mother was preparing the grill for dinner.  Cheyenne’s mother went into the kitchen briefly, not realizing that Cheyenne left the deck to go to the restroom.  Upon her return, Cheyenne’s oldest nephew said that Skyler was asleep in the hot tub.  Cheyenne ran to the hot tub and found Skyler face down and unconscious.  She immediately laid him on the deck and started chest compressions while her mother called 911.  After several compressions Skyler started to faintly cry and breathe on his own.  Cheyenne then sat him up and waited for paramedics to arrive.  Once there, the paramedics found Skyler fully alert.  Cheyenne was told by the paramedics that Skyler appeared to have been in the water for 30 seconds or less.  “They said it was a good thing I knew CPR,” said Cheyenne.  “Today he is a completely healthy and happy boy, and I am so glad I could help him,” she added.  Cheyenne is the daughter of Scott and Carole Chalkus.

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Kayli Kohn, 10, of Fairfield.Kayli Kohn of Fairfield was 10 years old when she rescued her two year old brother Hudson in 2013.  Kayli was putting Hudson into the van as the family was leaving a local business.  Before her father and stepmother got into the car, Hudson accidentally hit the gear shift and the van began to roll backwards into the street, although the keys were not in the van’s ignition.  Kayli began to yell to get the attention of the oncoming traffic.  Her attempts were successful as the cars came to a stop before colliding with the family vehicle.  After crossing two lanes of traffic, the van struck a building and came to a stop.  Hudson was unharmed when he was taken out of the vehicle, and it was later determined that the van’s gear shift was defective.  “My brother was so scared, and he was crying in my arms.  Nobody got hurt; we are so lucky.  I love my brother so much,” said Kayli.  Kayli is the daughter of Jessica and Jeremy Kohn.

The Girl Scout Mission is: Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place.  Today’s Girl Scouts not only enjoy camping and crafts, but they also explore math and science and learn about diversity, good citizenship, leadership and teamwork.  Girl Scouting is the place where girls experience the fun, friendship and power of girls working together.

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois serves 14,000 girls and 4,800 adult volunteers in more than 40 counties in southern Illinois.  Girl Scouting has inspired more than 50 million girls and women since its founding in 1912.  Girl Scouting is focused on providing a premier Girl Scout Leadership Experience for girls in the 21st century, while ensuring the traditions and values that have been core to Girl Scouting since its beginning remain strong and relevant. 

Girl Scouts of Southern Illinois is a not-for-profit organization supported by various United Ways throughout the region.  Girl Scouts is a Proud Partner of United Way.

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