Though no one outside her family has told her so, 9-year-old Carissa Medina might be considered a heroine.
On Friday morning, she snatched a kindergarten boy from an icy pond, probably saving his life."There were some little boys chasing and teasing him," Carissa said, describing the scene at a school bus stop on Atherton Drive near 800 West, about two blocks from her home. "I think he was throwing a temper tantrum or something, and he kicked his boot out onto the ice."
The irregularly shaped pond, about 100 yards long and 20 feet to 100 feet wide, was frozen over in some places with ice thick enough for children to walk on. But when the boy tried to fetch his boot, he fell through and became trapped in the pond's muck about three feet from shore, about 100 feet from the bus stop.
Only Carissa noticed his futile attempts to free himself from the pond, which is part of Majestic Oaks Mobile Home Park.
"Everyone else was either going to the bus or was already on the bus." Carissa said.
Carissa ran to the boy's rescue, stepping into the wet clay of the pond and grabbing the boy by the arm."His face was kind of turning blue," she said. "He spit up a little and couldn't walk very well. If I'd have let him try to walk, he wouldn't have made the bus."
So Carissa picked him up, one arm under his shoulders and the other under his legs, and carried him to the bus, where two bus monitors attended to him.
One of the monitors, Kristy Mills, 11, witnessed part of the incident from the bus and confirmed much of Carissa's story, saying she believed that Carissa prevented a tragedy. Neither Mills nor Carissa knows the boy's name.
After Carissa helped him to the bus and it arrived school, the monitors took the boy to James E. Moss Elementary School, where officials called his mother.
When asked whether anybody acknowledged her actions, Carissa said, "Nobody said anything to me about it. I don't think the bus monitors told anyone what happened."
To Carissa, the incident brought back memories of four years ago, when her sister, Misty, 3 years old at the time, nearly drowned in a swimming pool accident but was saved by a man who was later killed in a shooting accident.
"Carissa and Misty were talking about that last night," said their mother, Trudy Kelley. "Carissa said she didn't want the kid to drown like Misty almost did."
"I was scared. Maybe he could have died," Carissa added.
Carissa's grandfather said he is going to call the mobile-home management to complain about the pond.
"Something needs to be done," said Ron Kelley. "They should drain it, or fence it or somebody needs to be here while kids are getting on or off the bus."