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Lifeguards honored for saving 2-year-old who nearly drowned

By Alison Parker
Published On: Sep 05 2013 04:36:53 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 05 2013 05:40:35 PM CDT
CAMP LEJEUNE, ONSLOW COUNTY -

Two lifeguards were honored at Camp Lejeune Thursday for saving a 2-year-old girl who nearly drowned in a pool.

Members of Camp Lejeune, the American Red Cross and American Marine Corps Communities recognized Clarissa McAllister and Sarah Dodson for saving 2-year-old Lucy Kernen. The little girl fell into a swimming pool in early July.

"I was just praying, like, 'Okay, I need to do this right now,' and I had to clear everything out of my mind and just concentrate on what was going on," McAllister said.

"I just dove in and pulled her up, and then I was like... I was just freaked out," Dodson said.

Lucy's mother, Theresa, was at the pool with her children that day while her husband was deployed. She said had it not been for the lifeguards' quick thinking, her family would be broken.

"They were mature and calm at a time when I didn't feel like I was calm enough to help my daughter," Theresa said.

After pulling 2-year-old Lucy out of the water, McAllister and Dodson began performing CPR. About a minute later, Lucy started coughing, and that was when they knew she was going to be okay.

"I was shaking, and I just held her hand and wouldn't let go until EMS was there," McAllister said. "She's a regular with us so we knew her, so it made it harder."

"I would never want anything bad to happen to her," Theresa said of her daughter. "She's such a good girl."

Since the rescue, Lucy has been back to the pool.

'I'm just so happy everything turned out the right way," Dodson said.