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Selling cookies helped Girl Scout find courage that saved mother’s life

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NORTHGLENN, Colo. -- A local Girl Scout is being called a hero after her quick thinking saved her mother’s life.

Katie Hurley, 11, has been in the Girl Scouts for six years. Her sashes are like scrapbooks. Every square inch of fabric is covered with badges, and each one is a symbol of how much she has grown since she joined.

“Her first year in the Girl Scouts, she was painfully shy,” her mother Kristin said.

Then cookie season rolled around. Selling Girl Scout cookies forced Katie to interact with strangers. Although it was out of her comfort zone, it helped her warm up to people over time.

Katie is now one of the top sellers in her troop. Her mother said if it wasn’t for the Girl Scouts, her daughter would probably still be too shy to talk to strangers.

While there is no badge for overcoming shyness, Katie’s new-found people skills helped her earn a different Girl Scout award: The Medal of Honor. It is a very rare accomplishment, reserved for girls who have saved someone’s life.

“The first thing I remember is being on the ground shaking,” Kristin recalled.

On Aug. 9, Kristin fell out of bed at 2 a.m. She is diabetic and her blood sugar had dropped to a life-threatening level. Katie called 911.

In a letter to the Girl Scouts of America for the Medal of Honor application, Lt. Cullen Lyle of North Metro Fire Rescue said “Katie showed extraordinary maturity and bravery by recognizing that her mother was in need of immediate attention by the fire department. She called 911 and made sure that she was understood in the middle of an extremely stressful situation. Katie displayed a calm demeanor that was years beyond her actual age.”

“I am so proud and grateful to her,” her mother said. “It’s very scary to think about. It could have ended so badly.”

Katie said thinking about her 5-year-old brother helped her get through it.

“I told myself that Matthew was around and I knew if I panicked he would panic too,” she said. “I sometimes get a little choked up when I think about it because it was very scary, but I’m pretty proud of myself.”

It was a very brave act, from a once shy little girl.

“She can put that aside when she needs to, whether it’s cookies or calling 911,” her mother said.

Now, while her cookie badges are sewn on her back, Katie’s Medal of Honor is proudly pinned over her heart. She said she hopes it inspires other little girls to be brave too.

“Girl Scouts tells girls that you can go outside and do amazing things,” Katie said. “Just telling yourself you’re a great person and you can shine if you want to.”

Only 28 Girl Scouts across the U.S. were awarded the Medal of Honor this year. Katie is just the second girl in Colorado history to receive the award.