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Saving Lives and Exemplifying Girl Scout Leadership

Linnea Radtke receiving medal of honor

Ten-year-old Girl Scout Linnea Radtke was presented the Girl Scout Medal of Honor on February 4, 2023, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Jen Thorson, Chief Operating Officer of Girl Scouts River Valleys, shared about the significance of the medal: “The Medal of Honor Lifesaving Award is presented to a Girl Scout who has saved or attempted to save human lives under circumstances that indicate heroism or risk to their own life. These national awards are reserved for Girl Scouts who have performed heroic acts beyond the degree of maturity and training expected for their age.”

That’s just what Linnea did on October 13, 2022; she used quick thinking and skills she had learned in fire safety training – which she had completed the year prior and took very seriously – to usher her family out of their house when she smelled a gas leak. Linnea’s mother, Jenn Radtke, explained, “While the loss of life is not imminent, gas exposure can cause myriad physical symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathing difficulties, and even suffocation. It is a slow and sneaky risk to life and much harder to notice.”

Upon noticing the gas smell, Linnea immediately knew what to do. She said, “We all have to get out and call 9-1-1.” She calmly grabbed a jacket, put the leash on the dog, and went outside with her younger brother while her mother called for help from a safe location. The gas company confirmed there were three leaks in their gas line and the furnace, which have been repaired.

Soon after, Jen Radke posted a story about the incident on social media and soon heard from a friend that while she hadn’t noticed anything in her home, her third grader came home from school and said their house was “really stinky.” Because she had seen Radke’s story on social media, she did not hesitate to call the gas company. They, too, had a leak in their furnace.

Because Linnea showed outstanding judgment and a willingness to speak up and take charge during a potentially life-threatening situation, she not only saved herself and her family from harm, she also set a good example and impacted others in her community.

In a letter to Linnea, Sofia Chang, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, commended her actions, stating, “You have not only saved a life but also served as an example for all Girl Scouts. I commend you for your heroism and quick thinking.”