Photo by Brian Giandelone
DACULA -- This summer, Dawn Tumillo was like any other 12-year-old, playing at a Florida pool on a hot day.
But while her brother played with his toy boat and she swam, she noticed the giggles and splashes of a family friend's baby had ceased.
Dawn dove into the water and lifted the scared toddler to the surface.
The humble Girl Scout was honored with the Girl Scouts Medal of Honor Lifesaving Award for rescuing the baby from drowning.
"I don't know exactly what happened," Dawn said, recounting the traumatic episode. "All I knew was I needed to do it. I didn't even think about it."
Dawn's father, George Tumillo, said he and other adults at the poolside were unaware the toddler, who had been playing on the pool's steps, had slipped into the water.
"After I heard the splash, I looked up," he said, pointing out that the splash he heard was Dawn's, not the baby's. "She's a responsible kid."
Brother Scott is a Boy Scout, but he said he didn't know if he would ever perform such a brave act.
To Dawn, who is reading "Diary of a Wimpy Kid," there is no need for recognition.
"I know it's a big deal I kept him from dying, but in another way, I just pulled him from a pool. Anybody could have done it," she said.
The green vest of Dawn's Girl Scout uniform is filled with badges and patches cover the back. The Osborne Middle School student, who hopes to become an astronaut, said she most treasures a badge she received for helping a Brownie scout from a sister troop.
Debbie Tumillo, Dawn's mother and the troop leader, said she was delighted to pin the Medal of Honor on her daughter's vest.
"It was just one of those moments where I was just proud she is such a great kid," she said.