Girl Scouts USA honors Minnesota teen for rescuing mother and grandmother

A Minnesota teenager was recently honored by the Girl Scouts of the USA with one of their most prestigious awards, the Bronze Cross.

Fifteen-year-old senior Girl Scout Ilona Delaney, a citizen of Red Lake Nation who resides in Rosemount, received recognition for her courageous act of rescuing her grandmother and mother from drowning during a family boating excursion last summer. Ilona, the first Indigenous Girl Scout to achieve this honor, has made Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys proud.

The Bronze Cross is one of the two medals that young individuals can receive for their commendable actions in saving a life.

During the awards ceremony held last Sunday in Rosemount, Ilona graciously accepted the award, expressing her disbelief as she recounted the events that unfolded before her last summer.

While celebrating Ilona’s grandmother’s birthday, an unfortunate incident occurred. Ilona’s mother, Erin Delaney, noticed that her mother, Charlene, was struggling in the water. Without hesitation, Erin jumped in to assist her. However, the situation quickly escalated, and both women found themselves in danger. It was then that Ilona courageously intervened, rescuing both her mother and grandmother from the threat of drowning.

Ilona shared that her mom and grandma are the only family she has. Despite her fear of lakes and fish, she bravely took the plunge, forming a human chain with them. Battling against the wind and waves in choppy waters, she successfully swam to safety. This experience has had a profound impact on her, and she now aims to raise awareness and educate others on how to handle similar situations.

Once they returned to the shore, the family was thrilled to see three majestic bald eagles soaring in the sky above them.

Ilona mentioned that their relatives provided assistance.

Lynnea Atlas, the Chief Operating Officer of Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys, had the honor of presenting the award to Ilona.

Atlas expressed his admiration for Ilona’s exceptional qualities as a girl scout, emphasizing that she embodies the core principles of the organization. He conveyed his deep appreciation for the privilege of bestowing upon her the prestigious award, as well as participating in the significant naming and feathering ceremonies.

Ilona and her family were already in the midst of planning a traditional Ojibwe naming ceremony when she received the exciting news about the award. In a stroke of inspiration, she decided to combine both ceremonies into one unforgettable event.

In March, Ilona received a letter from the Girl Scouts of the USA’s Chief Executive Bonnie Barczykowski, informing her about the award. The letter praised Ilona for her heroism and quick thinking.

Barczykowski wrote, “You exemplify the core values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law and embody the essence of a brave, self-assured, and virtuous young woman who strives to improve the world.”

Ilona’s next venture involves participating in swim trials with Team USA this summer. In addition, she plans to embark on another Girl Scout initiative focused on enhancing swim literacy. Her goal is to impart swimming skills and promote water safety among her peers.

Reference Article

Avatar photo
MBS Staff
Articles: 6899

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *