Citrus County teen presented with prestigious Girl Scouts’ Medal of Honor for helping save lives

CRYSTAL RIVER, Fla. - A Citrus County teen received the Girl Scouts’ Medal of Honor for her life-saving efforts while rafting in the Grand Canyon.

Last summer, Elizabeth Fiore, 17, and her Girl Scout troop took a trip out west to see several U.S. National Parks for the first time.

"We sold a ton of cookies [and made] a ton of money to be able to go have this trip," the Crystal River high schooler said. "It'd be a fun trip for all of us to just see the cool landmarks we haven't seen before."

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During their visit to the Grand Canyon, Fiore and her Girl Scout troop, Troop 14261, went rafting down the Colorado River.

During a short break, the tour guides said they would keep the boats running, but the Girl Scouts could jump into the water if they wanted to.

But Fiore said the guides warned them to stay in a certain area of the river.

"Just the current, the propellers, and the depth of the water could be dangerous," Fiore said.

The then 16-year-old decided to stay in the boat with her two troop leaders, including Debbie Greer, who described the Colorado River as "deep and cold."

That’s when Fiore said she heard a commotion and saw a boy in the water.

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"People yelling like, ‘oh, he's in’ or ‘he can't swim,’" Fiore said.

"He obviously couldn't swim. He grabbed his friend next to him and pulled him into the water," Greer told FOX 13.

Fiore didn’t hesitate and threw a buoy into the water.

She and her troop leaders worked to get everyone out of the water and to safety.

They used the buoy Fiore threw and pulled one of the adults -- who was struggling to swim after helping one of the kids to safety – into their own boat.

"You know, you're doing all this badge work, and sometimes you wonder if they're paying attention. But in those moments like this, you realize, oh, they have learned something," Greer said. "And they've grown into young women, very capable young women. And it just makes me so proud."

The teenager was presented with one of the highest honors in Girl Scouts: the Medal of Honor.

According to the organization, 196 Girl Scouts nationwide have earned the Medal of Honor since 2017.

"We are incredibly proud of Elizabeth and her quick-thinking actions that helped save a life," said Girl Scouts of West Central Florida CEO Mary Pat King. "She demonstrated the courage, confidence and character that we aim to build within all Girl Scouts. Due to her willingness to respond quickly and efficiently in a time of great need, she is well deserving of the Girl Scouts of the USA’s Medal of Honor."

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