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'She saved that child's life': National Guard medic revives girl on verge of death

Pvt. Gracie Hilinski, Spc. Brandon Issacson, Sgt. Richard Schutt and Spc. Mitchell Potter, medical section, Headquarters Battery, 2nd Battalion, 146th Field Artillery Regiment stand with Command Chief Master Sgt. Trish Almond, State Senior Enlisted Leader, Washington National Guard and Command Sgt. Maj. Alfonso Cadena, Command Sgt Maj., 81st Stryker Brigade Combat Team. The four soldiers actions on April 6, 2018 saved a young girls life near North Bend, Wash. (Washington National Guard Photo)

NORTH BEND, Wash. -- A little girl who stopped breathing Friday was saved by a medic with the Washington National Guard and her team, the agency said Thursday.

“It was clear that if it had not been for the efforts of Pvt. (Grace) Hilinski, the young child would not have survived,” said Sgt. 1st Class Jesus Garcia.

The group was heading in convoy from Olympia to the Yakima Training Center and had stopped in North Bend to fuel up before heading over Snoqualmie Pass. That's when they saw a lot of commotion surrounding an SUV -- a young girl about 3-4 years old had stopped breathing and had no pulse, Garcia said.

Pvt. Hilinski and her team raced to the girl.

"I heard someone yell 'medic!' from across the parking lot and noticed other soldiers running over there, but I was the first medic to get there," she said. "(The girl) was laying there, not breathing and (I) immediately started CPR."

After several rounds of CPR, Hilinski took a pause for rescue breaths.

“I felt a pulse, but it was weak,” said medic Spc. Brandon Issacson, who was assisting in the rescue. "I confirmed with another solider that 911 had been called and civilian medics were in route."

Hilinksi said after a few rotations, the girl started to trying to breathe, "and we got her on her side, while her mom was talking with her. The little girl came to, started to regain her strength and awareness, I just stayed there 'til the ambulance came."

The ambulance arrived a short time later and escorted the family to a local hospital.

“Hilinski’s actions were immediate and confident, showing all the aspects necessary in a competent and effective medic,” said Issacson. “Jumping into a scene that terrifies many new EMTs, her actions saved the life of a child.”

Garcia agreed: “Based on my experience I can say that Pvt. Hilinski saved that child’s life that day."

Hilinksi says she just wanted the little girl to be OK.

"I was just doing what I was trained to do and was happy that it turned out OK and we could help," she said.

It's unclear what caused the little girl to stop breathing.

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