In just two days, a Pewaukee girl scout will be given a national award for her lifesaving efforts earlier this year. Sydney Gergen will but just one of 31 girls who have received this national honor called the “Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Medal of Honor Award.

Heather Gergen, the 14-year-old’s mother, took Sydney to Peninsula State Park over memorial day weekend for a bit of vacation. While there, Sydney wanted to go paddleboarding, but because of the wind, her mother wouldn’t let her. The two decided on a tandem kayak instead.


While on the water, the mother and daughter noticed another person having trouble with her paddleboard. As they continued to watch, they then saw her fall into the water and not get up. According to the two women, the weather was windy and the water temperatures were in the high 40s. Easily low enough to get hypothermia.

“She didn’t really seem like she knew what she was doing,” Heather said. “Sydney said, ‘Mom, let’s go over there. I think that lady is in trouble!’ We went over there, and indeed, she was in trouble.”

Sydney tried to coach the woman back on the board, but due to a lack of English and shock, she didn’t get anywhere. That’s when Sydney made a decision that shocked both her mom and the stranger. Sydney got on the paddleboard and was able to put the woman in the kayak.636177688660032127-gergen-award-4

Sydney was able to get the woman to the nearest shoreline where her husband met them. He took his wife back to his car while the Gergens attempted to take the kayak and paddleboard back to the rental area. Unfortunately, the wind became too strong for heather to kayak by herself and for Sydney to paddleboard alone.

The husband and wife returned with a motorboat to pull them back to the rental area.


“It’s just fantastic. For me, it’s very fulfilling. It’s proof of all of the work we’ve gone through with Scouts and all of the different activities that we’ve done for her that she’s really able to make a difference in the world,” Heather said about her daughter.

Sydney will be given her medal on Thursday during her school’s recognition ceremony.

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articles and photos via lake country now.